President cautions of food crop sub-sector contracting in Q1 2020

President cautions of food crop sub-sector contracting in Q1 2020

illustration -Some workers were employed at a light vehicle assembling plant in Karawang, West Java. ANTARA/Hanni Sofia/aa.

Food crops contracted 0.31 (percent). Be careful about this figure. Once again, be wary of this figure
Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo expressed concern over the contraction in several sub-sectors, including food crops, thereby contributing negatively to the country's economic growth in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020.

"The food crop sub-sector contracted 0.31 (percent). Be careful about this figure. Once again, be wary of this figure," he stated while chairing a plenary cabinet meeting via videoconference at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The head of state had earlier highlighted the FAO report that warned of a potential food crisis, thereby necessitating a push to the agricultural sector to boost production in line with the health protocol put in place.

To this end, Widodo had also held a series of meetings. On Tuesday (May 5), he called on relevant officials to take precautionary measures against drought this year under the endeavors to maintain domestic food production.

The other sub-sectors contributing negatively to the Q1 economic growth were aviation, contracting 0.08 percent; oil, gas, and geothermal mining, shrinking 0.08 percent; and component metal goods industry, declining 0.07 percent.

"The same is also true with the demand side. The inflation rate in April 2020 was recorded at 0.08 percent, the lowest as compared to those during Ramadhan previously," he pointed out.

On the spending side, household consumption increased 2.84 percent, while government spending rose 3.74 percent, thereby making it the engine of growth.

Indonesia’s economic growth in Q1 of 2020 had contracted to 2.97 percent, from 5.07 percent during the corresponding period last year, according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS).

"This condition is akin to that of other countries that witnessed a deeper slowdown," BPS Chief Suhariyanto remarked during a virtual press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The BPS noted that the weak pace of growth of Indonesia’s economy was influenced by contraction in the global economic growth in the third quarter of 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati had earlier forecast economic growth in Q1 at 4.5-4.6 percent.

The forecast was more optimistic since COVID-19 had not affected the domestic economy until early March of 2020.

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