Indonesian Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo emphasized a major role of the agricultural sector and its contribution to Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This was affirmed by Minister Syahrul when attending a virtual meeting of the G20 Ministers of Agriculture and Irrigation on Saturday (12/9). He emphasized that iery important for the G20 meeting to accelerate agricultural development. Considering the key role of the agricultural sector amid the impact of the pandemic, it could be the saviour of the country's economy. So, the meeting is a forum for sharing views in the context of achieving sustainable agriculture and food security.
Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo further stated that the role of the agricultural sector in Indonesia is currently quite significant as seen from its contribution to total GDP reaching 14 per cent and providing employment for almost half of the total population.
He also mentioned an increase in GDP growth in the agricultural sector of about 2.19 per cent compared to the previous year (year on year).
The meeting was also attended by Minister of Environment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Abdulrahman A Alfadley as the host of the organizers, as well as the ministers of agriculture and irrigation members of the G20, representatives of countries and international organizations.
Minister Syahrul added that amid the social restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indonesian Government continues to encourage the important role of the agricultural sector in creating rural employment, providing social protection, increasing the income of farmers’ families, and ensuring national food security. To maintain food availability for everybody in the era of adapting the new habits, the Ministry of Agriculture to date has developed a set of policies called the 4-Way Action.
First action is by increasing production capacity through accelerated rice cultivation, conversion of suboptimal land to agricultural land and expansion of new cultivation areas for strategic commodities. Second one is by diversifying local food through the development of food diversification based on local wisdom and utilization of yards and marginal lands. Third action is by strengthening food reserves and logistics systems through developing food reserves at the provincial and community levels and improving the national food logistics system to stabilize supply and prices. Fourth action is by developing modern agriculture through the promotion of agricultural mechanization, smart farming, use of screen houses, food estate and farmer corporations.
Minister Yasin Limpo further remarked that Indonesia also continues to encourage the use of digital technology and innovation as an important component in realizing a sustainable, inclusive and resilient food system, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and handling the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global food system.