Food policy must not discount food export-import: VP Boediono

Food policy must not discount food export-import: VP Boediono

VP Boediono. (ANTARA/Setwapres-Muchlis)

... we also must not turn off the tap for imports and exports as it will only hurt ourselves."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President Boediono has said that the countrys food policy must not discount the importance of food exports or imports as it will only hurt the general public as products might become scarce and prices unaffordable.

"Indeed we should be able to provide most foods domestically. But we also must not turn off the tap for imports and exports as it will only hurt ourselves," he stated at the "Adhikarya Pangan Nusantara" food award presentation on Friday.

The ceremony was attended by his wife Mrs Herawati Boediono, Agriculture Minister Suswono, Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi, Deputy Minister of Industry Alex SW Retraubun, the Head of the National Statistics Agency, Suryamin, provincial deputy governors, district heads, city mayors and agricultural activists who received the award.

Boediono further stated that Indonesia must not force itself to meet its food needs alone, but must be responsive towards certain conditions and adopt the right policy to deal with the matter.

He added that different countries were gifted with different natural resources and could not force themselves to meet their needs optimally themselves, which was why international food trade and export-import activities had started in the first place.

"If we are not allowed to import, it is the people who will suffer because they might not get adequate food supplies as prices might rise," the Vice President noted.

He also said that with regards to food export-import regulations, he preferred imposing import duties rather than following a quota system.

"A quota system is stiff and it involves a lot of red tape and paper work and so it is susceptible (to fraud) and it also goes against the expected goal," he said.

Boediono said all parties must work together to create food resilience, which must be part of large framework for joint consideration, as it is needed not only now but also in the future.

Studies have shown that the worlds population will continue to grow meaning demand for food will also rise, he said.

"This means the whole world will face a deficit in food supplies. The risk is present and increasingly real," Boediono warned.

He said food resilience was also threatened by climate change, currently taking place and which was often difficult to predict.

"Drought and floods are occurring frequently and they are certainly threats to food resilience," he said.

The Vice President pointed out that food resilience could also be threatened if there was friction between the political and military spheres.

"We certainly hope our country will be prevented from seeing any political and military friction," he said.

Agriculture Minister Suswono said on the occasion that the award presentation had been carried out since 1979 as a gesture of appreciation towards government officials, farmers, food groups and was aimed at boosting food resilience.

"Supply security, affordability, consumption and nutrient fulfillment, and food security are all covered under food resilience," he stated.

Ninety persons received the award, including groups involved in food resilience guidance, volunteers, food resilience services, people involved in food resilience development and food resilience stakeholders.

(Reporting by Ahmad Wijaya/H-YH/INE/KR-BSR/A014)