"The production of unhusked rice will increase to 79 million tons, from 70 million tons in 2014 and 74 million tons in 2015," Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman, said on Thursday in the village of Bhakti Rasa, Sragi subdistrict, South Lampung.
Therefore, he said, Indonesia will not need to import rice and it could even export to other countries.
The country will continue to increase agricultural production through various means, including agricultural mechanization. Through measures such as the provision of agricultural machinery (alsintan) assistance to farmers, the ministry encourages mechanization of agriculture, a policy that will continue, to further improve agricultural productivity.
The minister said the use of agricultural technology was able to cut production costs by 50 percent. The production cost of one hectare, which usually reached Rp12 million, has now been reduced to Rp6 million. In addition, in one year, the farmer can plant two to three times.
Moreover, he continued, the government has now guaranteed the price of basic commodities.
"Now the government has set the price of basic commodities, such as Rp3,150 per kilogram for corn, so farmers feel safe because there is certainty of price. They will not suffer losses during the harvest period. Also, the government will guarantee the purchase price so that farmers will feel secure as their production will be absorbed," he explained.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Peoples Deliberative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan appreciated the efforts of the agriculture minister to increase agricultural production through various measures, including mechanization.
"We both know that at this time to increase the agricultural land was very difficult. But the population will surely continue to grow so that the food production should be increased. Therefore, I appreciate the performance of the Minister of Agriculture on his efforts to increase production, especially through technology mechanization, "he said.
Zulkifli added that providing agricultural machinery to farmers is a very effective, helpful policy and in accordance with current requirements.
"It is inevitable that mechanization is really required. Farmers used to set off into the fields while it was still dark, they are exposed to the sun and their skin became dark, and they returned home very late, again when it was dark. By using alsintan like hand tractors, farmers can finish cultivating one hectare of land in three hours, where it used to take 11 days to cultivate," said Zulkifli.
The assembly speaker explained that the governments policy, including price support to commodities, whose prices plummeted during harvest time, resulting in losses to farmers, was very strategic and meant to help farmers.
Zulkifli personally expressed his gratitude to the Minister of Agriculture Andi Amran Sulaiman, whose efforts during the past two years, he said, had lifted agricultural production and ensured that the country did not have to import rice.
"It must be recognized, I am grateful for the performance of Amran who have proved his ability to increase agricultural production. And, this is the reality this year, the government did not import rice after 32 years of importing the commodity. It should be appreciated because with our current condition, it is not easy to do," he said.