Indonesians agricultural sector has kept showing impressive achievements in recent years. This can be seen from the surge in export value and the increase in Gross Domestic Product -GDP which contributes to economic growth and declines poverty rate.
Since 2015, exports of agricultural products have experienced a surge compared to the previous period. In 2015, the volume of agricultural exports reached 40.4 million tons. In 2014, the volume of agricultural export products only reached 36.1 million tons. In 2017, exports of agricultural products reached 41.3 million tons. In 2018, the volume of agricultural product exports rose to 42.5 million tons. If accumulated, the total exports have reached Rp 1,764 trillion over the past four years.
Various achievements in the Indonesian agricultural sector received appreciation from several international delegations who attended the Regional Conference on Strengthening Southeast Asia's Food Security, Nutrition, and Farmers' Welfare through the UN Decade of Family Farming in Jakarta more recently.
Deputy Country Director of World Food Program, Peter Holtsberg admitted, he was impressed with the achievements of Indonesian agriculture sector development in the recent years, especially related to development initiatives focused on infrastructure, capacity building, training, and efforts to bring access for small farmers to local and international markets.
Furthermore, IFAD Country Program Manager for Pacific, Taufiq El-Zabri acknowledged that the efforts made by Indonesian government were enough to inspire and encourage other countries to do the same in pushing the development of the agricultural sector. He was impressed with models of capacity building, training, infrastructure development, and efforts to increase added value. According to him, the support made by the government has been considered successful and shows an increase in farmers' income, improved nutritional status, and better education and livelihoods.
Quoting FFTC website, the Food Sustainability Index released by The Economist Intelligence Unit in 2016 placed Indonesian agriculture sector at 25th of 113 countries; and 16th for agriculture sustainability.
When the national exports are weakening, the achievement of the agricultural sector is very encouraging, because Indonesian agricultural products show impressive performance. It is appropriate for agriculture to become the backbone of the Indonesian economy, given that many agricultural products have potential export.
Budi Nugroho P.