With the support of military officers and other concerned institutions, Central Sulawesi has managed to achieve a surplus in rice production, reaching 280 thousand tons in 2016.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Central Sulawesi provincial administration and local farmers are pleased over the success of the governments program to boost the production of paddy, maize, and soybean in the province.

With the support of military officers and other concerned institutions, Central Sulawesi has managed to achieve a surplus in rice production, reaching 280 thousand tons in 2016.

"The surplus has increased compared to those recorded in previous years," Trie Iriany Lamakampali, head of the local food crops and horticulture office, stated in the Central Sulawesi capital of Palu recently.

Central Sulawesi has set a target to produce 1.3 million tons of dried paddy in 2017. The province has adequate seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides to boost the production of paddy, maize, and soybeans.

The local farmers who had planted crops during the Oct-Nov planting season last year are expected to harvest their crops during the April-May 2017 period. The paddy production is estimated to reach 500 thousand tons during the season.

Farmers hope that the state-owned Logistics Agency (Bulog) would purchase more produce from the local farmers.

In response to the farmers' wish, the Central Sulawesi unit of Bulog noted that it was set to reach its target of rice procurement this year.

Head of the Public Service division of the provincial unit of Bulog Bahar remarked that the procurement from local farmers has so far reached 662 tons against its target of 35 thousand tons this year.

"The target is quite big, but Bulog has to work hard to achieve it," he added.

The purchase of rice from local farmers would be in line with the regional requirement, he revealed.

Every month, Bulog distributes 3 thousand tons of rice to the poor families in 13 districts of the province. Hence, Central Sulawesi sometimes needs rice supply from other regions, because of limited procurement locally.

However, from 2017, Central Sulawesi Bulog hopes to be able to meet the regional requirement from local farmers.

Central Sulawesi was once self-sufficient in rice, but it lasted only for a year. Now, the regional office of Bulog is committed to repeating the record of self-sufficiency in the province.

He revealed that the target would be reached if the instruction from the central Sulawesi governor, that farmers in six districts should set aside 10 percent of their production for Bulog, could be fully implemented.

Meanwhile, Bulog has set a target to implement its on farm program for cultivating paddy on one million hectares of land nationally, this year.

"We are optimistic that our target to plant paddy on one million hectares of rice fields through the on farm program would be materialized," Imam Subowo, director of business and industry development of Bulog, stated in Palu on March 10, 2017.

Subowo was in Central Sulawesi for the first harvest of paddy for the 2017 harvest season conducted under the on farm program in Sidondo Village, Sigi District, 40 kilometers from Palu.

The on farm program comprises the farmers self-reliance on farm program wherein the cost is entirely borne by the farmers, and the paddy produced under the program will be bought by Bulog at a standard price set by the government and Bulogs on farm program whose cost is funded fully by the logistics agency.

Bulog has also implemented the working partners on farm program, with financing from banks, and the farmers working partners and synergy on farm programs involving the participation of state-owned and private companies.

Of the target of one million hectares across the country, some 300 hectares have been materialized so far.

For South Sulawesi alone, this years target is 12 thousand hectares, and only 300 hectares have been materialized so far, Suprianto, head of the Bulog chapter in Central Sulawesi, remarked.

Paddy producing regions in Central Sulawesi include Donggala, Parigi Moutong, Poso, Sigi, Banggai, and Tolitoli.

To help market the commodities, Bulog has set a target of setting up at least 50 thousand subsidized food shops called "our food houses" (RPK) across Indonesia this year.

"Until now, some 13 thousand RPK have been set up in several districts and cities across the country," Imam Subowo noted.

The agency expressed hope that every village or urban area would have at least one RPK.

The RPK aims at providing adequate, affordable, and healthy food to everyone, he explained.

The more RPK exist, the better access the public will have to buy their daily necessities.

The food shops, receiving subsidies from the government, are expected to help prevent hikes and speculations in prices. The shops will offer standardized prices across the country.

"The prices will be the same. Every RPK will sell food commodities at the highest retail prices set by the central government," he remarked.

In Central Sulawesi, 500 RPK have been set up, and the number is expected to increase this year.

RPK offer eggs, onions, chili, flour, sugar, rice, and cooking oil, among other essentials.

The distribution of food commodities by Bulog to RPK has been running smoothly until now.(*)

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2017