Bolstering and empowering food cooperatives is important to make farmers prosperous so that agriculture becomes productive
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Secretary General of the Communication and Informatics Ministry Mira Tayyiba has urged food cooperatives in Indonesia to adapt to digital transformation to optimally support the agriculture sector and realize food independence.

"Bolstering and empowering food cooperatives is important to make farmers prosperous so that agriculture becomes productive," she noted during the "Digital Cooperative Transformation: The Realization of Food Independence" event, which was held in a hybrid format on Monday.

"In addition, food cooperatives should adjust their position with the current rapid development of digital technology as an effort to achieve food independence through digital transformation," she added.

Based on the discussion of the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG), the agriculture sector must adopt digital technology accurately to support sustainable development, Tayyiba, who is also the DEWG chair, said.

Globally, the accurate utilization of technology in agriculture has been estimated to produce added value of up to US$6.6 billion annually for the economy, Tayyiba noted.

Digital adaptation in agriculture, also known as smart farming, utilizes artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data to create added value that must be considered.

Using digital technology, farmers can measure the land fertility period, predict the best period for harvest, check weather conditions, as well as control pests to make farming more efficient.

According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while other industries declined, agriculture became the sector that absorbed the most manpower in Indonesia, absorbing 1.86 million workers in 2021–2022.

Given the benefit of smart farming and the potential of agriculture in Indonesia, adapting to digital technology has become a must to allow the agricultural sector to optimally align with the era of digitalization.

One sphere that has to be strengthened for technology adaptation is food cooperatives, which are organizations that support farmers in developing their businesses in Indonesia.

Several efforts have been undertaken by the ministry so that the agriculture sector and food cooperatives can adapt to digital transformation.

These efforts include providing digital skills training through programs such as “MSMEs go Online,” “MSMEs actively adopt Digital 4.0,” and “Farmers and Fishermen Go Online.”

In addition, the ministry has bolstered infrastructure supporting the utilization of digital services so that it can provide equal digital access across the country, including for farmers in the 3T (outermost, underdeveloped, and frontier) areas.

Tayyiba said she believes that if digital adaptation can be combined with the main principle of cooperatives in Indonesia, namely kinship, cooperatives will be able to support the national economy and take agriculture in a positive direction.

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Translator: Livia K, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Sri Haryati
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