In addition, in an effort to boost national food production, we are continuing to encourage various innovations in the agricultural sector
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Agriculture is encouraging the development of agricultural innovation and technology to bolster the productivity of Indonesian agricultural products as well as improve farmers' welfare.

"One of the roles of the Agriculture Ministry is to encourage the active participation of farmers in achieving food self-sufficiency while improving their welfare. In addition, in an effort to boost national food production, we are continuing to encourage various innovations in the agricultural sector," Director General of Food Crops at the ministry Suwandi said in a written statement received here on Tuesday.

Increasing the income of farmers, especially food crop farmers, is one of the government's agriculture development goals, he added. The policies and programs of the Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, are focused on increasing technology and corporate-based production to strengthen food security and exports and improve farmers' welfare.

"Innovation development by the Ministry of Agriculture has an important requirement, namely meeting the needs of farmers as innovation users and location-specific agricultural main actors," Suwandi explained.

Location-specific agricultural development is being carried out in West Sumatra, where 50 percent of agricultural land is being used to grow rice. Secretary of the Agriculture, Plantation, and Horticulture Service of West Sumatra Province Ferdinal Asmin said that the service has formed a farmer income team targeting rice farmers.

"In order to increase the income of farmers, we must form synergy by forming a team to increase farmers' income. Our target is rice farmers. This is very important because, in an effort to increase the household business of the farmers, it requires support from various parties to realize the idea," Asmin added.

The province’s Agriculture, Plantation, and Horticulture Service has made several efforts to achieve the target, namely by promoting the use of superior seeds and ensuring the availability of fertilizers and adequate agricultural machinery.

Currently, farmers in West Sumatra are producing their own fertilizers, particularly organic fertilizers, to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

By producing organic fertilizers, farmers can save on production costs amid soaring fertilizer prices and thereby, increase their income.

Several local government agricultural programs have been implemented in West Sumatra, for instance, Tanah Datar district has a free plowing service program that seeks to reduce land processing costs. In addition, farmer insurance has been split into rice crop insurance and buffalo cattle insurance.

Furthermore, the local government has also increased the quota of subsidized fertilizers, with fertilizer assistance focused on the production of organic fertilizers as well as the irrigation network improvement program as most of the available irrigation networks only allow simple irrigation methods.

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Translator: Aditya Ramadhan, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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