Responding to President Joko Widodo’s statement regarding rice imports of 1.5 million tons by the end of 2023
Jakarta, October 12, 2023 – President Jokowi’s decision to import 1.5 million tons of rice was very disappointing for farmers.
Executive Director of Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ), Rahmat Maulana Sidik, said that imports are often used as an excuse to fulfill domestic needs. “In fact, in records compiled by IGJ from various media/sources, the national rice adequacy figure is in a surplus like 2022,” said Maulana.”
It was further stated that Jokowi’s decision to import 1.5 million tons of rice at the end of 2023 was made after visiting rice harvest areas. This is disappointing, when farmers are harvesting rice, President Jokowi actually makes the decision to import rice.
IGJ analysis that the legitimacy of food imports comes from policies made during the Jokowi government era, one of which is Law no. 6 of 2023 concerning Job Creation. In the Job Creation Law, the liberalization of imported food has become even more serious. This is indicated by the provisions of Article 30 of the Farmers Protection and Empowerment Law which was amended in the Job Creation Law, confirming that domestic food needs and national food reserves can be obtained from imports.
“This Job Creation Law further encourages the liberalization of imported food which will of course cause misery for farmers in Indonesia. Because, the ideology of food imports in the Job Creation Law does not look at the condition of farmers when they harvest or not. Thus, imports will continue and the space for food liberalization will become wider. This hampers food sovereignty in Indonesia. Never mind talking about food sovereignty, food security alone will be threatened by the Job Creation Law, said Maulana.”
In terms of international commitments, Indonesia’s defeat by the United States and New Zealand at the WTO dispute settlement session resulted in changes to four National Laws relating to Food, Livestock and Agriculture which were amended through the Job Creation Law.
The WTO’s pressure on Indonesia to change the four National Laws in the Job Creation Law is increasingly worsening the condition of national food sovereignty. “Meanwhile, protection for farmers and their rights is increasingly being stripped away in the Job Creation Law,” added Maulana.”
Notes to editors:
- Domestic rice consumption is 30.2 million tonnes and national rice production will reach 31.54 million tonnes in 2022.
- At the beginning of 2023, the Jokowi government also issued a decision to import 2 million tons of rice in March 2023.
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