TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Minister of Agriculture Suswono has set a target to improve farmers' welfare. According to the Minister, there will no longer be any farmers living below the poverty line in 2045. "At that time, the agriculture sector will have grown," he said.
Suswono said that the target is part of the Primary Strategy for Agricultural Development (SIPP) of the Ministry of Agriculture for the 2013 to 2045 period, which has been superseded by an early SIPP for the 2015 to 2049 period. According to the plan, farmers could make US$7,500 per capita annually starting in 2040. After this condition has been met, Suswono said that there a food sustainability community will be established in 2045. "We hope that the next president can run this strategy," he said.
One of the government's strategies to achieve the target is the regeneration of manpower in agricultural sector. He also said that the government is trying to expand farmland and increase the productivity of farmers. Suswono admitted that currently, the condition of farmers is still below the poverty line because they only have 0.3 acres of land for farming and low productivity. The lack of farmland has turned the agricultural sector into an uninteresting sector for employment.
Gatot Irianto, Director General of Agriculture Infrastructure for the Ministry of Agriculture, said that continuous land conversion will deplete all farmland in Indonesia by 2149. He explained that such condition could happen because land conversion rate is twice higher than the availability of new farmland. "Java is now surrounded by malls, toll roads, and real estate. Do we really want to eat stones and concrete in the future?" he said last week.
YOLANDA ARMINDYA | KHAIRUL ANAM