Malang, E Jawa (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Agriculture is maximizing efforts to increase rice production amid the challenges that have caused a reduction in production in 2023.

Head of the Agricultural Extension and Human Resource Development Agency (BPPSDMP) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dedi Nursyamsi, pointed out in Malang District, East Java, Wednesday, that the long dry season in 2023 reduced national rice production.

“National rice production in 2023 decreased significantly. That year, our rice production was only 30.2 million tons, down from the previous year of 31.5 million tons," he explained.

According to Nursyamsi, the domestic demand for rice per month was recorded at 2.6 million tons, requiring a harvest area of one million hectares.

He noted that based on records from the Ministry of Agriculture, in March and April 2024, the planting area in Indonesia was less than one million hectares. The planting area during that period was recorded at only 800-900 thousand hectares.

"This means, this June, our planting area must not be less than 1.1 million hectares," he remarked.

He noted that in an effort to increase the planting area, the ministry had made several efforts through strategic programs, namely optimizing swamp land, conducting water pumping in rain-fed rice fields, and implementing the Tumpang Sisip Padi Gogo program, under which plantation lands are optimized to plant rice.

He further noted that for rain-fed rice fields, rice planting is only conducted once a year due to the lack of water during the dry season.

The Ministry of Agriculture will increase the planting area by channeling water from nearby surface water to rice fields.

Nursyamsi stated that to push the strategic programs, the ministry is providing training to farmers, agricultural extension workers, and village-affiliated non-commissioned officers (Babinsa) of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI).

The training aims to increase the participants' understanding of increasing rice production through optimizing swamp land and water pumping in rain-fed rice fields, as well as utilizing plantation land for rice planting.

The total number of participants in the training reached 1,902,354, out of which 1,823,948 were farmers.

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Translator: Vicki Febrianto, Raka Adji
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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