New Agricultural Development Strategy

New Agricultural Development Strategy – Escalation of prices of food and agriculture to three-fold over the last three years is troubling, not least for Indonesia. Following three main factors are often thought to be responsible, namely (1) climate change phenomena that disrupt food production forecast strategic, (2) increasing demand for food commodities due to conversion to biofuel, and (3) action of the investors (speculators) the global level due to market conditions financial uncertainty.

Even so, the price escalation has also become an opportunity (and challenge) to formulate a new agricultural development strategy that is compatible with the changing times.

Agricultural development in Indonesia has actually demonstrated contributions which are difficult to dispute, that the increase in productivity through high yielding varieties of crops, livestock and fisheries production surge has proven capable of overcoming the problem of hunger in the past four decades. Plantations and agro-industry development has also been able to deliver on the nation’s economic progress, improved export performance, and employment.

In short, the performance of the agricultural way Indonesia is much more comprehensive than the rate 3.51 percent per year average growth in the period 1960-2006, calculated from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In the early stages or phases of consolidation 1967-1978 agricultural sector grew only 3.38 percent, then jumped very high and reached 5.72 percent in the period 1978-1986, then back to slow down 3.39 percent in the 1986-1997 phase of deconstruction and continued to slow 1.57 percent until the period of economic crisis.

During the economic crisis, the good performance achieved plantation and livestock sub-sector is hardly bring meaningful impact due to declining purchasing power. In the reform era (2001-2006), Indonesia’s agriculture has grown 3.45 percent per year, and can not be said to have headed in the right direction (see more Arifin, 2007).

Three important principles

Over the past four decades, agricultural development strategy to follow three essential principles: (1) broad-based and integrated with the macro economy, (2) equity and poverty eradication, and (3) preservation of the environment. Two main principles have shown good performance, as described above, because the support of irrigation networks, roads, bridges, technological change, macroeconomic policies, and so on.

Agricultural revitalization concept launched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in fact can not be removed from the mindset and strategies of the above. Because the phenomenon of the Green Revolution and the perspective of consistency, the achievement of rice self-sufficiency in the era of the 1980s also has been followed by increased prosperity and equitable distribution of income of rice farmers in Indonesia, equitable rural and urban sectors.

At that time the center of rice production in Java, Lampung, South Sumatra, West Sumatra, North Sumatra, South Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, and others are also identical to the welfare and income distribution.

The third principle of conservation of the environment is not yet widely demonstrated results because of newly developed serious post-Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992.

In short, agricultural development must be capable of carrying the mission of equity if you want to contribute to eradicating poverty and ensuring the sustainability of development itself.

The new strategy

Here is a new strategy that try to offer with respect to the determinant of a new pattern of agricultural development in the future. The strategy has been proven and tested so far do not have to be abandoned, just need to be equipped with several dimensions of the following:

First, agricultural development must promote research and development (R & D), especially those that address the challenges of climate change adaptation. For example, researchers are challenged to produce rice varieties that can bloom in the morning, when the air temperature is not too hot. Upland rice-story scaffolding in the era of the 1980s that is able to adapt and grow in upland and rainfed, now needs to be improved to generate higher productivity than 2.5 tons per hectare. Indonesia that agriculture should not rely only on land in Java seems to have been agreed, only needs to be realized systematically. For example, new varieties need to be tested multilocation and adaptation trials in a number of dry areas by empowering the local university network and Agricultural Technology Development Center is spread over the area.

Secondly, the integration of food security with the development of energy development strategies, including alternative energy. This strategy is new is at its very beginning so that Indonesia can not be wrong to step. Indonesia is too late in the juxtaposing of food security with alternative energy. It means that Indonesia needed something bigger than just a policy at the level of Presidential Instruction No. 1 / 2006 on Biofuels and Presidential Regulation No. 5 / 2006 on the Energy Diversification.

Third, agricultural development is inherently necessary to protect farmers’ producer (and consumer). Food and agricultural commodities risky venture such as seasonal factors, the lag time (time-lag), differences in productivity and product quality are quite striking. The mechanism of hedging (hedging), crop insurance, auction markets and warehouse receipt is a little bit of important examples of instruments that can reduce the business risks and market uncertainties. Operationalization of this strategy, policy formulators and administrators at the local level must be able to make it into an action step is to give enlightenment to farmers, empowering communities, and strengthen community organizations to be able to participate in commodity futures markets are more challenging. This is where the tough and competitive agriculture will be realized.