Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A non-governmental organization (NGO) advocating preservation of soil fertility (PKL) has demanded that the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) consistently implement soil fertility restoration programs as a prerequisite to increase food production.

Farmers consider the consistent implementation of soil fertility restoration programs essential to increase food production and achieve food self-sufficiency, a PKL spokesman, Henry Suryo, said here on Monday.

Run sustainably, soil fertility restoration programs would also help strengthen national food security, he said.

"Amid the threat of a world food crisis, around 5 million hectares or 60 percent of a total 7.9 million hectares of farmland are damaged due to excessive use of non-organic fertilizers," Henry said.

Therefore, he said, farmers also want the government to immediately intervene and directly enlighten the community regarding the potential impacts of excessive use of chemical fertilizers.

"It is also necessary for the government to promote the use of alternative ways of fertilizing soil, such as resorting to organic fertilizer, for instance, compost made of straw which is widely available," he said.

Henry said using straw-based compost as an organic fertilizer could be part of the government`s effort to the land degradation degradation due to declining soil fertility.

The Agriculture Ministry had initiated a program to promote the use of organize fertilizers in 2010, he noted "but ironically, even before the program could fully take off, there were already indications of attempts to undermine it by certain quarters with a vested interest in derailing the national food self-sufficiency and security efforts,"

In PKL`s view, he said, there was a "neoliberal agenda" behind the efforts to thwart the soil fertility restoration programs and the country`s efforts to increase food production, namely to let Indonesia remain a market for imported food commodities.

"Soil fertility restoration is a populist economic program and should become a national priority. Therefore, the House of Representatives should encourage the government to implement it coinsistently," he said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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