Jakarta (ANTARA) - Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman said that the current food and energy crises are also influenced by many countries withholding their exports to maintain their own country's food stability.

"We must maintain food security because a food crisis might turn into a political crisis," Sulaiman said in his statement received here on Sunday.

He conveyed this statement at an event that was attended by some officials and members of the Hasanuddin University Alumni Association in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

A total of 1,500 people including 300 orphans participated in the event.

On that occasion, Sulaiman expressed his commitment to contribute his salary and benefits to the orphans. "On this occasion, I want to say that my salary and benefits as a minister will be handed over to orphans, this is my commitment," he said.

Meanwhile, he explained that the El Nino weather phenomenon has caused a long drought that affected agricultural production.

However, he said, rain that has fallen in some regions of the country is expected to boost production, especially rice.

"Thank God, we are blessed because rain has started to fall in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Sumatra," he said.

He added, his side is preparing for the planting season that falls between October and March with a production target of 1.5 million tons of rice.

"We focus on (the production of) rice and corn for October-March and we must not miss it. This is a matter of people's livelihoods and we are currently facing a food crisis. We have to increase production as much as possible and this is a direct order from the President," he explained.

In addition, he promised to improve fertilizer management so that farmers can increase food crop productivity, as well as to restore the image of the Ministry of Agriculture in order to regain the public trust.

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Translator: Kuntum R, Kenzu
Editor: Sri Haryati
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