The government is ready to open an additional two million hectares of land for agriculture in anticipation of declining food production resulting from climate change and extreme weather, a top official said.
Agriculture Minister Suswono said on Friday that the world’s major food-producing countries had recently seen a shortfall in production due to uncertain climatic conditions, leading to a steady decline in global food stocks.
Given these pressures, he said, it was important that food-producing nations such as Indonesia put a hold on exporting their produce in order to safeguard stockpiles.
“Looking ahead, the quantities of food commodities traded in the international market will get smaller, while at the same time food demand will continue to increase,” he said. “This will lead to higher prices for food commodities in the international market.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently reminded countries of the need to strengthen their food stocks in the face of the current situation, he said.
However, according to Suswono, Indonesia has no need to worry because it has a vast area of land with the potential to increase food production.
He said Indonesia would take maximum advantage of its available land to support the country’s food self-sufficiency.
“With the existing farmland potential, it is still possible to open new paddy fields to keep the rate of land conversion steady, particularly in Java,” he said.
The government last week suspended import duties on a range of food-related commodities and imported 820,000 tons of rice from Thailand in an effort to ease rising food prices and plug domestic shortages.
News Source : The Jakarta Globe
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Posted on January 31st, 2011 at 7:52 am by Farah Fitriani