Hence, the province's food-producing capability deserves serious attention for the nation's benefits
Palembang, South Sumatra (ANTARA) - South Sumatra must make all-out efforts to anticipate the threat of extreme drought to prevent the disruption of agricultural production, which could lead to failure in meeting national food needs.

Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo delivered the remarks while speaking to journalists after chairing a cross-sectoral coordination meeting on extreme drought anticipation in Palembang City, South Sumatra, on Monday.

According to the minister, the extreme drought threat is a result of the global El Nino phenomenon.

Based on an analysis conducted by the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), Indonesia is projected to experience the peak of El Nino from August 2023 until the end of the year.

Taking note of this, Minister Limpo called on all regional governments to pay close attention to the phenomenon to anticipate the extreme drought threat to ensure the smooth running of agricultural production activities in their respective regions.

"We all should make tremendous anticipatory measures to deal with the threat, especially in South Sumatra, considering its status as one of the country's six major food-producing regions. In fact, Mr. President (Joko Widodo) is highlighting this issue," he said.

He then outlined several measures that regional governments can take to anticipate extreme drought, including identifying and mapping drought-affected locations into red, yellow, and green zones.

He also advised regional governments to increase the availability of agricultural machines and equipment as well as water reserves by creating or repairing ponds, dams, ditches, deep wells, infiltration wells, rehabilitating tertiary irrigation canals, and pumping.

"And also provide drought-resistant seeds and organic fertilizers to at least 1 thousand hectares of land, while directing farmers to expedite the planting process to make the most of the remaining rainfall," he added.

Limpo then expressed optimism that the measures would help South Sumatra preserve its rice production stability and even increase the production rate, contributing to efforts to achieve the goal of producing 1 million tons of rice by the end of this year.

According to the Agriculture Ministry's records, in 2022, the province managed to increase its rice production to 743 thousand tons from 622 thousand tons in 2021.

"It should be noted that South Sumatra has been successful in maintaining its very positive trend in rice production, added to the fact that it is experiencing a surplus. Hence, the province's food-producing capability deserves serious attention for the nation's benefits," Limpo pointed out.

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Translator: Muhammad Riezko, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Sri Haryati
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