Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), on Tuesday, emphasized that farmers in Indonesia have been playing a vital role in the country, as they are the foundation for meeting the people's need for crops and food.

"We have a population of around 280 million currently, and everyone needs food. Hence, you, farmers, are playing a very crucial role in this country," he told farmers during the distribution of aid to crop failure-affected farmers in Grobogan District, Central Java.

The event was broadcast by the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel, as followed from Jakarta.

In his speech, Jokowi said that the adverse impacts of climate change had become increasingly apparent, as evidenced by the intensified frequency of prolonged drought and continued rains, leading to a decline in the productivity rate of rice.

"There were 22 countries that were easy to buy rice from, as they stored adequate stocks of rice back then. However, drought and floods that affected rice fields had forced the countries to pull the export brake," he pointed out.

The president went on to note that in principle, Indonesia is still storing stocks of rice but they cannot be exported due to the urgency to prioritize meeting the needs at home.

Bearing that in mind, Jokowi appealed to Indonesian farmers to immediately start planting activities after receiving aid funds prepared by the government.

"I hope that today, farmers will receive the aid, so that they can immediately start planting rice and awaiting the harvesting period," he stated.

The head of state then remarked that the harvest results of Indonesian farmers would be instrumental for the country to suppress the need for importing rice from other countries.

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Translator: Rangga P, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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