Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is planning to set up PT Pangan Energi Nusantara (PEN) to enable Indonesia to become self-sufficient in food especially in rice as well as to empower its farmers` economy.
"The plan is based on a strong will to improve the country`s food resilience by empowering the farmers` economy," State Enterprises Minister Sugiarto said after a visit to the country`s biggest rice mill belonging to PT Jatisari Srirejeki in Jatisari village, Cikampek district, on Saturday.
More than 65 years after the nation gained independence, the fate of Indonesian farmers had remained unchanged while Indonesia, in fact, had become more and more dependent on imported rice to meet its people`s need, Sugiarto noted.
Although Indonesian soil was fertile, its food resilience was still low and this was one of Indonesia`s big problems, he said.
Therefore, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was giving top priority to efforts designed to raise domestic rice production to a level of two million tons so that dependence on imported rice could be reduced, the minister said.
"We, from several relevant ministries will discuss this program to help empower farmers` economy in a sustainable manner like what has been applied in Malaysia and Thailand," he said.
To make the plan run smoothly later, Sugiarto was trying to involve the National Logistics Agency (Bulog), Sang Hyang Sri, Pertani, BRI, domestic fertilizer producers, Askindo and Jasa Tirta as stakeholders in PT PEN.
"On Monday (Jan 8) some relevant ministries and agencies will discuss this plan to enable the country to become self-sufficient in food," he added.
PT PEN`s activitieis would have to do with efforts to provide financial assistance as it can act as a facilitator for farmers seeking capital beside providing agricultural information and consulting services , quality seeds and fertilizer to farmers.