Jakarta (ANTARA) - Fishermen will play an important role in maintaining Indonesia’s food sovereignty in the future, State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir and Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Minister Teten Masduki said on Tuesday.

Fishermen, on their part, will require certainty of market access so that their products can be absorbed in the market at an affordable price, the SOEs Minister said at the 4th National Conference of the Indonesian Traditional Fishers Association (KNTI) here on Tuesday.

Hence, the SOEs ministry is providing business loans and aid to empower fishermen's wives to develop their own businesses through the Prosperous Family Economic Development (Mekaar) Program.

He said he expects that in the future, the program will be able to help the women to improve their family’s welfare and become economically independent.

However, he noted that the distribution of loans needs to be encouraged since currently, the disbursed value of loans has only reached around Rp1.6 trillion (US$106.2 million) out of a total allocation of around Rp46 trillion (US$3.05 billion).

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On the same occasion, the Cooperatives and SMEs Minister said that the marine sector is one of the leading sectors of Indonesia’s economy, thus it is very concerning that there are still many fishermen’s families who are in the low-income class.

He then invited fishermen to join cooperatives so that their businesses could have formal legal status.

Joining cooperatives could minimize the risk of price fraud when they sell their catch at fish selling centers since the facility will be managed by cooperatives, he added.

The government has committed to developing financial literacy and digital skills of farmers, breeders, and fishermen to develop an inclusive and productive economic sector by increasing knowledge and technology transfer, as well as strengthening economic partnerships and assistance.

Farmers, breeders, fishermen, as well as micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) actors are one of the priority groups targeted for the development of inclusive finance, as mandated by Presidential Regulation Number 114 of 2020 concerning the National Strategy for Inclusive Finance.

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Translator: Chairul Fajri, Uyu Liman
Editor: Suharto
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