TEMPO.CO, Makassar - One of Joko Widodo's programs is to open new rice fields as the foundation of food security. Jokowi plans to open one million hectares (2.47 million acres) of rice fields in the island of Sulawesi, to replace paddies in Java that have been converted for other uses.
Iman Sugema, an economist from the Megawati Institute, said that Sulawesi is considered as being the right island for land clearing program.
The people of Sulawesi are also familiar with agriculture, while farming technology mastery in the island is quite good. "Plus, the working spirit and the geographical conditions are very supportive," Iman said on Wednesday, September 17.
Syahrul Yasin Limpo, the governor of South Sulawesi, said he is glad if his province is chosen to have new paddy fields. "We are able to provide 500,000 hectares. The remainder can be opened in other areas," said Syahrul.
According to Syahrul, the agricultural sector, especially rice planting, is still the dominant sector in South Sulawesi. Currently, South Sulawesi produces five million tons of milled rice per year, feeding 21 provinces in Indonesia.