Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo has instructed to allocate an additional budget to increase the quantity of subsidized fertilizers in 2024, Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman confirmed on Sunday.

"Mr. President has demanded that fertilizer subsidies be shot up to meet the needs of farmers. We are following up to this directive by coordinating with the finance minister. The budget for fertilizer subsidies will surely be increased," he noted in a statement in Jakarta.

Sulaiman said increasing the budget for the subsidized fertilizers is aimed at protecting national production of food commodities from disruption, especially the production of rice.

"Indeed, we have been facing El Nino as quite a tough challenge this year. Hence, we need to continue to ramp up production. Hopefully, sufficient supplies of fertilizer will encourage farmers to bolster their productions," he pointed out.

The Ministry of Agriculture had revoked all regulations deemed as obstacles for farmers in obtaining subsidized fertilizers, including Agriculture Minister's Regulation No. 10 of 2020, he added.

Meanwhile, the ministry's Director General of Agricultural Infrastructure and Facilities Ali Jamil affirmed that the stock of subsidized fertilizers for the current planting season will suffice.

"We guarantee sufficient supplies of fertilizers," he emphasized.

He also confirmed that the Agriculture Ministry is currently in coordination with the Ministry of Finance to provide an additional budget for increasing the availability of subsidized fertilizers.

"We will continue to ensure that there will be no more farmers complaining about insufficient fertilizers. In accordance with Minister Sulaiman's directives, we will continue to monitor (the distribution of fertilizers) to prevent problems from occurring," Jamil stated.

The additional subsidized fertilizers will target farmers operating in social forestry areas, farmers that have not received the fertilizers due to the absence of proper internet connection in their regions, and those planting twice or thrice a year.

The government has also allowed farmers to access subsidized fertilizers simply by using their identity cards, thereby eliminating the need for being holders of a Kartu Tani (Farmer Card).

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Translator: Farhan Arda, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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