Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), on Wednesday, demanded that subsidized fertilizers only be sold to farmers to prevent price manipulation that will, in turn, harm the farming community in need.

The president made the statement in Banyumas District, Central Java, in response to farmers' complaints about subsidized fertilizers being offered at doubled prices.

"It is important to continue to oversee this matter. We need to monitor distributors and retailers, so that subsidized fertilizers are not sold to non-farmers," he affirmed.

The president emphasized the need to conduct comprehensive monitoring to ensure that the distribution of subsidized fertilizers reaches only targeted farmers.

He then spoke of having received complaints from farmers about issues related to fertilizers while noting that the government would continue to secure sufficient stocks of fertilizers to maintain the farmers' productivity rate.

The head of state remarked that state-owned fertilizer holding firm PT Pupuk Indonesia would provide 1.7 million tons of fertilizers in preparation for the upcoming harvesting season early this year. He also reiterated that farmers would simply need to use their identity cards to obtain the fertilizers.

"Earlier, I have already said that farmers could simply use their identity cards, as a substitute to Kartu Tani (Farmer Card), to purchase the fertilizers," he noted.

Jokowi further remarked that the central government would increase the budget allocated for subsidized fertilizers by Rp14 trillion (approximately US$905 million) this year.

"I have ordered the agriculture and finance ministers to propose an additional budget of Rp14 trillion for subsidized fertilizers," he remarked.

On the second day of his visit to Central Java, President Jokowi joined farmers in planting rice in Banyumas. He expressed belief that the rainy season would provide the farmers with adequate supply of water in January.

To ramp up rice production, the president expected farmers to plant rice on a total of 1.7 million hectares of land in the first month of this year.

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Translator: Indra Arief, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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