Jakarta (ANTARA) - Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo praised the "Biochar Three In One (Biotron)" innovation created by the Binuang Agricultural Training Center, South Kalimantan, to help farmers overcome the scarcity of chemical fertilizers.

"Biotron is an organic fertilizer to increase food production without depending on chemical fertilizers. We will encourage other discoveries or innovations, such as smart farming," Limpo said here on Wednesday.

The minister noted that Biotron offers a solution for farmers, as prices of fertilizers have kept increasing and government subsidies were limited.

He said that challenges in the agriculture sector have increased, such as climate change, land degradation, limited production facilities, expensive chemical fertilizers, and inefficient production.

"Therefore, to increase food production, we can no longer use the old method but the new way," he remarked.

Limpo highlighted the importance of more advanced and independent agriculture on account of the country's population reaching 280 million.

He noted that Biotron is one of the solutions to respond to the challenge, especially amid the domestic food demand and global unstable conditions.

"Climate change, land degradation, and El Nino are right before our eyes. Hence, we must increase food production through a scientific approach and new technology," he said.

Based on the growth trend in the last three years, he said that the agriculture sector remains green or has been thriving positively.

"Agriculture is still the mainstay of Indonesia's economic growth," he remarked.

Meanwhile, Head of the Agency for Agricultural Extension and Human Resources Development (BPPSDMP) Dedi Nursyamsi stated that Biotron is a combination of biochar with organic fertilizers and biological agents.

He explained that Biotron provides oxygen, water, and nutrients and is a home for soil microbes.

Organic fertilizers will help improve the soil's structure and PH, and biological agents function to control pests.

"Biotron helps fertilize the land and reduces the use of chemical fertilizers by 40-50 percent," he said.

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Translator: Fianda R, Kenzu
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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