August 27, 2015


Hurdles persist for Indonesia's self-sufficiency in corn


Indonesia remains adamant about achieving self-sufficiency in corn production and this is expected to materialise in the coming two to three years.


The goal, one of President Joko Widodo's paramount aspirations, is not without its challenges as well as consequences in the course of achieving it. Indonesia's recent corn import ban, for example, prevented 480,000 tonnes of shipments from offloading at local ports, leading to concerns that the situation might strain the relationship between the domestic feed milling industry and its suppliers.


In addition, the El Niño season could make it harder for corn production to reach its target, according to a Jakarta Globe report.


In the face of those issues, the government has revealed new targets for self-sufficiency in staple crops, which will affect local corn production and the animal feed sector, a key user of corn in Indonesia. The impetus for these milestones is the newly formed ASEAN Economic Community which establishes better food security in staple crops as one of its priorities.     


Amran Sulaiman, the agriculture minister of Indonesia, believes that self-sufficiency in corn is possible by 2016, given a slew of actions including financing mechanisation and the improvement of irrigation systems, and supporting the cultivation of higher-yielding hybrid crop varieties. Farmers will also receive professional trainings and subsidies for fertilisers.


More funds will be channeled to Bulog, the national logistic organisation, for the management of the country's corn reserves and the maintenance of price stability.


The government intends to add a million hectares of corn plantations, at an estimated cost of land and seed of US$230.4 million, but analysts pointed out to potential obstacles in the form of competitions with other land uses and bureaucratic difficulties in land acquisition.


ASEAN statistics show Indonesia as the top corn producer in the region, with more than 18.5 million tonnes in output in 2013, followed by the Philippines and Vietnam. However, corn production in the country is still lagging behind local consumptions which amounted to more than 20.8 million tonnes in the same year.