Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin called on the Agriculture Ministry to also focus on the annual production of rice and not just surplus.

"I urge, so that our focus not only lies on the surplus but also on the figure. It is expected that the surplus will consistently increase from year to year, meaning that rice production will also increase from year to year," the vice president noted on Wednesday.

Amin made the statement at the opening of the 2023 national work meeting of the Agriculture Ministry that discussed about bringing about improvements in the agricultural sector as a means of inflation control amid the global food crisis.

"Based on the Statistics Indonesia data, according to the vice president, there is always a surplus every year. However, it should be noted that the amount of rice surplus tends to decrease from year to year, from 4.37 million tons in 2018 to 1.74 million tons in 2022," he pointed out.

To address the situation, the vice president urged the ministry to identify fitting food commodities and focus on developing it, such as by setting production targets and their locations, in a bid to face the global food crisis.

"The burden on the agricultural sector is quite heavy. This sector should be able to provide food for more than 275 million people in Indonesia. Food availability and food price stability are critical matters that must always be managed properly in line with the prevalent trend of population growth," Amin stated.

Although the national inflation rate was at 5.51 percent in December 2022, which was considered within controllable limits, the vice president said that the future challenges in providing food will become even tougher.

"Not all sectors have recovered from the pandemic, that include global food production and distribution. The impacts of climate change and extreme climates are very hard to predict. Likewise, global geopolitical stress has caused food prices to soar and triggered a global food crisis," he explained.

Statistics Indonesia (BPS) stated that in 2022, the agricultural sector was one of the main sectors of Indonesia's economy.

It stated that national economic growth in the third quarter of 2022 had reached 5.72 percent, the figure of which was supported by the three main sectors of industry, mining, and agriculture. The sectors' contribution to GDP had reached 66.54 percent.

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Translator: Desca Lidya N, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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