Jakarta, Indonesianpost.com – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has urged the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) members to plant sorghum in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province as a joint step in reducing the need for national wheat imports.
The head of state remarked that amid the global food crisis, Indonesia still needed to import wheat. The country was still importing 11 million tons of wheat owing to the inability to grow enough to meet the national demand. However, there were options to intensify the cultivation of commodities that can be mixed with wheat.
“Wheat can be mixed with cassava, sorghum, and sago as well. Hence, I invite all of you to start planting the substitute. For instance, we can start planting sorghum in NTT,” he noted at a KADIN leaders’ briefing here, Tuesday.
The head of state later remarked that sorghum thrives in NTT at a reasonable cost.
“We can try first. We do not need thousands of hectares. We can start with 10 hectares first. Count, calculate, and plant as much as possible. It can be used for the wheat mixture,” he stated.
Jokowi then shared his experience during a recent working visit to Waingapu District in NTT. The president found the soil quality in the region to be relatively marginal and lacked water sources. However, sorghum plants could still thrive under such conditions.
“For the location, NTT could provide hundreds of thousands of hectares. We are waiting for real action from KADIN,” he emphasized.
Earlier, the president had instructed to conduct development of land for growing sorghum on up to 154 thousand hectares of land in Waingapu, NTT, as a substitute food commodity for wheat, during an internal meeting related to increasing sorghum production and the wheat policy.
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, remarked that currently, the planted area of sorghum as of June 2022 had only reached 4,355 hectares and is targeted to grow to 115 thousand hectares by 2023 and 154 thousand hectares by 2024.
In addition to developing sorghum, Jokowi reminded that corn was still one of the food commodities with an opportunity to be developed.
“We can utilize corn for food and livestock feed. The demand is very high, both from the domestic market and foreign market. Our current import of corn is still at 800 thousand tons, which was 3.5 million tons seven years ago. This is our opportunity,” he emphasized.
During the event, the president also drew attention to the difficult situation of global economic uncertainty faced by the world and the food crisis.
Minister of State Secretary Pratikno and Minister of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Basuki Hadimuljono also accompanied the president in attending the event.
Indonesianpost.com | ANTARA