Jakarta (ANTARA) - Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman has said that an additional budget of Rp28 trillion (US$1.77 billion) will be set aside for subsidized fertilizer allocation this year, bringing the total to Rp54 trillion.

The budget will be augmented to increase domestic agricultural productivity to achieve food sufficiency.

"With this addition, farmers are expected to speed up planting and increase domestic production to help the country achieve the food-sufficiency goal," Sulaiman said in a statement issued on Thursday.

He symbolically handed over additional subsidized fertilizer for farmers to the head of Mamuju district, Sitti Sutinah Suhardi, who represents all regional heads across Indonesia. The handover was made after he visited Papalang village in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, to view rice planting.

Sulaiman said that the additional allocation was a follow-up to the results of several meetings, including with President Joko Widodo, Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati, and related ministers.

Fertilizer distribution must be right on target and supported by the National Police and the Indonesian Armed Forces along with regional governments to strengthen the supervision of kiosks and distributors to avoid irregularities, he said.

"Kiosks and distributors should not commit fraud. If they do, we will revoke their permits," he warned.

He said that this year's subsidized fertilizer allocation will include chemical and organic fertilizers for nine types of commodities such as rice, corn, soybeans, chilies, shallots, garlic, sugar cane, coffee, and cocoa.

The fertilizer allocation is based on the recommendations of the Agricultural Instrument Standardization Agency (BSIP) of the Ministry of Agriculture, he added.

"I hope that regional heads will immediately prepare allocation plans per sub-district and village," he said.

Meanwhile, Suhardi lauded Sulaiman's decision to increase the allocation of fertilizers, which has been a need for farmers all this time.

She said that in Mamuju, farmers tend to prioritize planting rice and corn.

According to Statistics Indonesia, the rice harvest area in Mamuju in 2023 reached 10,795 hectares with rice production reaching 34,807 tons.

"We will continue to utilize irrigation, reservoirs, ditches, and pumps to meet the water needs for rice fields in several sub-districts. Therefore, we would like to express our gratitude for the various assistance and attention from the minister for our region," she added.

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Translator: Muhammad Harianto, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Anton Santoso
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