Medan, North Sumatra (ANTARA) - Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo has asked the North Sumatra provincial government to maximize efforts to tackle the threat of extreme drought due to the El Nino phenomenon.

"North Sumatra is one of the six national food buffer regions. Thus, the anticipation must be maximal," he said after chairing a coordination meeting on anticipating the impact of El Nino here on Friday.

Based on an analysis by the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), the peak of El Nino will occur in Indonesia from August until the end of the year.

Therefore, the impact of the El Nino phenomenon must be responded to seriously by all regional governments to prevent it from affecting agricultural productivity in their respective areas, Limpo highlighted.

According to him, President Joko Widodo has expressed the hope that, despite El Nino, the availability of food, especially rice, would be guaranteed as far as possible.

"Based on the balance sheet, we have enough (stocks)," he said.

Limpo informed that the government will prepare 500 thousand hectares of agricultural land to anticipate a prolonged dry season due to El Nino.

The minister expressed the hope that the North Sumatra provincial government and district and city governments in the province would be able to handle El Nino's impact.

"I believe North Sumatra is one of the strongest provinces that can handle it. For that, we hope the governor and certain district heads appointed by the governor can prepare lands for national interests," he said.

On the same occasion, North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi informed that his administration has prepared several special areas to meet food needs for facing El Nino.

"There are districts that we have readied. Especially for rice, there are Sergai, Deliserdang, and Langkat; for corn, Dairi and Tanah Karo," he expounded.

The governor said that the province needs to prepare at least 100 thousand hectares of agricultural land to meet its needs.

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Translator: Anggi Luthfi, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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