Indonesian legislator urges govt to build more reservoirs

Indonesian legislator urges govt to build more reservoirs

Herman Khaeron. (ANTARA)

"The funds will be provided directly to the farmers."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Deputy chairman of Commission IV of the House of Representatives (DPR) Herman Khaeron has called on the government to develop more reservoirs, dams and other sources of water in order to deal with droughts more effectively.

"If we have more sources of water, there will be more ways to distribute it to meet the various needs of people during the dry season," Herman said here on Friday.

The development of water pump system by the government was a good step to ensure better distribution of water during the dry season, he added.

Herman, who is also the chairman of the agricultural department of the ruling party, the Democrat Party, cited as an example the water pump system in Rokan Hilir district, Riau province, which was able to irrigate 2,000 hectares of rice fields.

Agriculture Minister Suswono said his ministry would prepare a water pump system, irrigation, reservoirs and ponds in anticipation of drought conditions in agricultural areas during the dry season.

The government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has allocated Rp199 billion for distribution among farmers who have suffered harvest failures on account of the dry spell.

Agriculture Minister Suswono stated that the funds would be handed over directly to farmer groups "in order to prevent illegal cuts and levies".

"We plan to provide aid of up to Rp3.7 million per hectare of rice field for farm cultivation and fertilizers, which should help prevent harvest failures," he said.

The Rp199 billion in funds is expected to cover at least the financial losses of farmers who own the drought-affected 65,000 hectares of rice fields, Suswono added.

Suswono`s deputy minister also expressed his approval of the government`s plan.

"The funds will be distributed as compensation to the farmers who have been severely affected by the drought and this will give them a chance to cultivate their land again," Deputy Minister for Agriculture Rusman Heryawan announced at a harvest event in Bantul, Yogyakarta, Central Java.

He added that the amount of compensation could be raised if necessary as this is an urgent matter.

"The funds will be provided directly to the farmers, but a team will first verify the extent of crop damage, which should be at least 75 percent or more if a farmer has to qualify for compensation," the deputy minister stated.