Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has appealed to farmers to speed up the planting season before the 2020 dry season sets in.

"The planting season should be accelerated. We must capitalize on the rainfall that still exists today. We must ensure that farmers continue to produce and plant by applying health protocols," President Jokowi remarked at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday.

President Jokowi made the statement while chairing a limited meeting themed "Anticipating the Impact of Drought on the Availability of Staple Food" through a virtual conference, with attendees comprising Vice President Ma'ruf Amin and ministers.

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"Hence, agricultural infrastructure, related to seeds and fertilizers, must exist, and the prices should be affordable," the president noted.

The president spoke of the government having already prepared an economic stimulus for farmers.

"Yesterday, we also discussed about economic stimulus for farmers. This will be further refined," the president noted.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto had earlier remarked that the government will offer incentive worth Rp600 thousand for 2.44 million farmers to facilitate planting in the next period.

The incentive was in the form of Direct Cash Assistance (BLT) amounting to Rp600 thousand comprising Rp300 thousand in cash assistance and Rp300 thousand in infrastructure for agricultural production for a three-month period.

"I have already mentioned FAO's warnings several times on the world food crisis. Hence, we have to really count on matters pertaining to the dry season," the president stated.

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The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has forecast that 30 percent of the regions entering the dry season in the subsequent three months will experience drier-than-usual weather conditions.

"Hence, steps to mitigate the impacts must be thoroughly prepared, so that the stability in food prices is not affected," President Jokowi noted.

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Reporter: Desca Lidya, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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