Against notion that farming equals poverty: Moeldoko

    Jakarta (ANTARA) – Chief of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP) Moeldoko has said that he is against the stigma that revolves around farming as a livelihood, which equates farming with poverty.

    “I do not like the (notion) of being farmer equals being poor. Don’t let ourselves be trapped with such negative view. Indonesian farmers can be affluent, can be well-off,” he stressed, according to a statement received here on Thursday.

    He delivered the statement during a visit to Balongsari village, Karawang district, West Java, on Thursday during harvest time.

    Moeldoko realized that there was little interest among the youth in joining the agricultural sector because it was seen as not very promising.

    He opined that agriculture is more than just working in a muddy field.

    “The youth who are aware of technology can contribute in the digital sector to improve national agriculture,” he said.

    The government has consistently prioritized subsidized assistance for farmers, including through the Agricultural People’s Business Credit (KUR), which is valued at Rp70 trillion (US$4.7 billion). However, on a regional level, the credit has yet to be allocated optimally because many farmers do not understand KUR, he added.

    “So, if there are our fellow farmers who have not received business credit, please teach them how to access this aid from the government,” he added.

    On the occasion, he also conversed with the residents of Balongsari village and listened to their aspirations and complaints, which ranged from the availability of subsidized fertilizers, irrigation infrastructure assistance, and farmer regeneration.

    Karawang district is a national food estate and produces around 500 thousand tons of rice annually. Hence, the district’s agricultural matters are a part of the office’s concerns.

    During Moeldoko’s visit, as many as 70 rice sprayers were also provided to Balongsari village to support local farmers’ productivity.

    “After being plagued by COVID-19, the world is faced with a difficult situation due to war. All food stocks have become expensive, including fertilizer. Thus, awareness must be instilled within farmers so they switch to organic fertilizers,” he said.

    “The prices for dry grain and rice are currently high. So, make the best use of this opportunity. Rice planting must be optimized. Don’t choose the wrong seeds, don’t miss the fertilizing schedule, the results will definitely be great,” he said.

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