The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Concerned by a rise in the consumption of imported fruit, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has urged Indonesians to purchase locally grown agricultural products.
Speaking during a visit to a durian plantation in Sukabumi, West Java, on Sunday, the President also called for integrated efforts to increase the country's food production, in order to meet rising demand.
"By increasing production, the government is hoping that self-sufficiency in food production can be achieved," Yudhoyono told journalists during a tour of the 28-hectare plantation.
The President also expressed concerns over the fact that many people in cities preferred to buy imported fruit rather than local varieties.
"I ask people not to overlook local fruit," he said.
Imported fruits and vegetables have come to dominated many grocery stores and hypermarkets in the country's bigger cities.
The government imposed a 25 percent import duty on imported fruit since October last year. But imported fruit, particularly from China, continues to flood local supermarkets.
In line with the 2004 Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation, signed by China and ASEAN countries, horticultural products, including fruits and vegetables from China, are exempted from the 25 percent import duty.
Indonesia is among the world's largest importers of agricultural products. The country imports 3.7 million tons or rice, 1.6 million tons of sugar and 1.3 million tons of corn a year. Fruit imports reach 247,000 tons a year.
Agriculture is a major plank in the Indonesian economy, accounting for 15 percent of gross domestic product and employing approximately 42 million people.