"Indonesia currently lacks the name `chocolate.` There are many factories, but those that plant chocolate are there, but not so much that chocolate is imported from outside; this is not true," President Widodo stated at Wisma Negara Makassar on Saturday.
President Widodo made the statement at the Village Jamboree for the Evaluation of the Development and Empowerment of Rural Communities in 2018.
"The village must meet the demand in these areas (lack of chocolate). The village knows the market and factory demand. We must comprehend well, so that the village is clear and productive and can provide `output` to the village community," the president explained.
According to the president, the government has disbursed a total of Rp187 trillion during the 2015-2018 period for village funds, specifically Rp20.7 trillion in 2015, Rp47 trillion in 2016, Rp60 trillion in 2017, and Rp60 trillion in 2018, while Rp70 trillion was planned to be distributed in 2019.
Of this amount, South Sulawesi Governor Nurdin Abdullah noted that his province will obtain Rp5.7 trillion.
"South Sulawesi Province has 2,255 villages, and the growth is very rapid, as it is supported by the management of village funds as a priority program. The amount of village funds managed during the 2015-20218 period reaches Rp5.7 trillion. Village roads built span 7,164 km in addition to bridges, irrigation systems, markets, embung Posyandu, PAUD or Early Childhood Education, and several thousand other programs have been implemented through the utilization of village funds," Abdullah stated.
Abdullah remarked that following construction, the dam can irrigate 21 thousand hectares of rice fields, thus reducing rain-fed rice fields that earlier reached 250 thousand hectares to 100 thousand hectares.
"I say our chocolate production continues to decline by approximately 50-70 percent. We, along with the Ministry of Agriculture, God willing, are determined to restore the glory of South Sulawesi," Abdullah added.
He also expressed hope that South Sulawesi would become a priority province for toll road development.
"This is since the toll roads in Java and Sumatra have been built well, and we hope for the same in Sulawesi. We hope that the village fund policy would be continued and improved both, in terms of quality and quantity," Abdullah remarked.
First Lady Iriana, Minister of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Areas, and Transmigration Eko Putro Sandjojo, Governor of South Sulawesi Nurdin Abdullah, and other officials also attended the event.
Reporting by Desca Lidya Natalia
Editing by Eliswan, Fardah Assegaf