"Food imports are still high," HKTI Chairman Oesman Sapta said on the sidelines of a function marking the association`s 39th anniversary and a discussion on Indonesian food sovereignty here Thursday.
To increase farm production, the government needed to apply good strategy, structure, skill, and system, he said.
Meanwhile, HKTI Executive Chairman Sutrisno Iwantono said Indonesia imported US$16 billion worth of farm products including foods every year.
Food security should be distinguished from food sovereignty, he said.
Food security was the availability of foods in appropriate quantities, time, location and prices, regardless of whether they originated from domestic production or imports, he said.
Based on the concept of food sovereignty, domestic food needs must not only be available in appropriate quantities, time, location and prices but also must be fulfilled by domestic production, he said.
The concept of food sovereignty was important for Indonesia not only to spend much foreign exchange on imported foods but also to reduce dependence on other countries and consequently, farmers` living standard could be promoted, he said.
Indonesia`s food imports were still high, he said adding even if the country`s rice production was enough to meet domestic needs it still imported the staple.
"It is ridiculous to import rice while our rice production reaches 66 million tons which are enough to meet domestic needs," he said.
Iwantono attributed the country`s low food production to the conversion of farm land into non-agricultural purposes, poor irrigation networks, low farm productivity and poor post-harvest management.
"Because of poor post-harvest management, 3-18 percent of food production is lost," he said.
To increase food production the government needed to improve irrigation networks, among others, he said.