Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government has prepared several moves to mitigate the risk of declining food production due to the El Nino phenomenon, head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas) Arief Prasetyo Adi stated.

"Bapanas was tasked with preparing the government's food reserves. These food reserves are crucial, surely (in cooperation) with Bulog (State Logistics Agency)," Adi remarked in Bogor, West Java, on Monday.

According to the agency head, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has instructed his aides to prepare mitigation efforts in their respective sectors.

Adi noted that the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry (PUPR) has built 60 dams, 1,250 drilled wells, five thousand water reservoirs, and 50 wells to support food production.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry was tasked with providing heat-tolerant seeds, preparing swamp areas for food planting, and accelerating the planting time.

"This is (in fact) our opportunity to produce food in our own country," he remarked.

Furthermore, he said, the government has also encouraged food diversification and called on regions to make the most of the local food wealth.

Hence, all regional governments are encouraged to prepare food in their respective regions and actively collaborate with other regions to ensure food security for the community.

Regions with food surplus will become a buffer for regions with food deficit, he remarked.

"Especially, in Jakarta, its food supply definitely depends on West Java, Banten, Central Java, so these supporting areas have to work together with deficit areas," he affirmed.

Earlier in the day, President Jokowi stated that the government was exploring cooperation to import rice from several countries, such as Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, and China, to stabilize prices and ensure sufficient rice supply for domestic consumption.

According to Jokowi, talks regarding rice imports had been held with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, Indian PM Narendra Modi, Bangladeshi President Mohammed Shahabuddin, and Chinese Premier Li Qiang.

"(These imports) are to ensure that we have a stock reserve strategy to prevent (price) rises because rice production will definitely decrease due to the El Nino phenomenon," Jokowi stated.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa P, Sri Haryati
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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