Jumat, 23 November 2012
FOOD MATTERS IN INDONESIA
To be honest I was quite surprised when I read the news in VOA Indonesian website called Price Soybean Mahal, Tofu Tempe Lanka a few days ago. How could a country with abundant natural potential as Indonesia could reach crisis soy?
Ideally, if the first time the new order era of our nation have been able to self-sufficiency, should our nation is now one of the largest food exporters in the world. Instead of importing food on a large scale. I myself was quite shocked to read other news in VOA Indonesian website called Food Crisis Threatens Indonesia. There mention if it needs dependency on imported major national food is also quite large as soybeans (70 percent), salt (50 percent), beef (23 percent), and corn (11.23 percent). Logiskah if the country has more than 17,000 islands and the fourth longest coastline in the world to import salt some 50% of the total domestic needs?
I am sure, the food crisis that some time ago there was not just happen. Certainly there are many factors that influence it causes. Here's some analysis of the causes of food crisis that occurred some time ago:
1. Fulfillment Needs Food Too Rely on Imported Products
Based on the information that I read in one news website VOA Indonesia, of the total soybean requirement of 3 million tons per year, more than 2 million tons diantarannya an imported product. A fact that is quite sad if they see the potential of agriculture in Indonesia are very abundant.
To suppress food prices in the market in the short term, the import might be the fastest solution. But such solutions are only reactive. And often reactive solutions are not suitable for use in long-term solutions. On the contrary, it could make domestic farmers increasingly lost. Because of all this proven imported products cheaper and better quality than local products. As long as the quality of food products in the country has not been equal to or better than imported products, it's good quantity reduced import activity.
It is true, there is nothing wrong with the import activity. Moreover, if an attempt to meet those needs actually been done to the fullest. However, if the activity of these food imports continue to be done, it is not impossible that one day people would be comfortable Indonesia to become the importer without any attempt to carry out the evaluation and improvements of domestic food production.
With all the potential natural abundance, fulfillment of basic needs such as food should be done independently by the government. Since the fulfillment of basic needs is one of the standards of independence of a nation. If only our basic needs have not been able to be independent, it is likely the fulfillment of other needs that are secondary as well as transportation, technology, and the like, we are still not independent.
2. Reduced Number of Farmers
It could be, the farmer is one of the professions most avoided by young people today. Whether because of the amount of their income is not too high. Whether because farmers always analogous to the marginal or something. I can not understand why this could happen. What is clear, based on my observations for nearly 20 years living in the village, most of existing farmers are those who drop out of school and unable to continue their education to a higher level. Interest in becoming farmers among young people is very low. And as with any other field, agriculture also needs regeneration in order not to die.
And in fact, at the college level, majoring in agriculture is one of the most deserted majors enthusiasts. Citing what was reported in one of the online media, the phenomenon of decreased interest in majoring in agriculture has increased every year. Apparently, if it can choose, it could be high school graduates or the equivalent are not many who would choose agriculture majors as a place to continue their education.
And perhaps this is also likely to lead to agricultural scholars are reluctant to make a career in the world of agriculture. Because since they came just because I have to or because they can not go in the direction of their dreams, not because it is really interested to explore the science of agriculture and berkaya in agriculture. Very disayangankan indeed. Though the level of education is very influential on the ability to apply the technology and the ability to innovate. Both of which are needed to improve the quality and quantity of agricultural production.
3. The Reduced land
Can not be denied again, the number of rice fields progressively reduced after the contractor more diligent planting rice on the side of the road with houses. And while the amount of rice cultivation is declining, the number of food demand is increasing day by day.
4. Weather Uncertainty
Uncertain weather also affect crop farmers. Lots of farmers' crop failure due to sudden weather changes. The good news, despite the recent weather is very volatile, there is a group of students who make calendars ITS rain forecast. And of course it would help farmers avoid crop failures because one predict the weather.
5. The lack of use of technology
According to what I've seen over the past 20 years, almost no different from the current farm and agricultural processes in the past 10-15 years. Starting from the process of planting, fertilizing, harvesting, processing, all the same. In short, there is almost no innovation processes in agriculture. The only changes are most easily seen may be just the tool rollers that 'little' more modern than it used to when I was a kid. One of the reasons it is none other than the lack of education and lack of access to information held by the farmers.
Similarly, at the level of academia. Despite having sufficient knowledge, agricultural students are often working alone without collaborating with other students majoring. Though to make technology tools and innovations that really appropriate, agricultural students do not have to work alone. They can collaborate with students majoring in engineering and in accordance with the field to be studied later. So that problems such as reduced land and the lack of technology is likely to be overcome.
6. Minim Agricultural Investment
It is no secret that until now the bank is very difficult to provide loans to farmers. Yet to be developed, farmers need the same amount of capital to entrepreneurs in other fields.
Even if it had been in the activity of other businesses known mentoring (coaching), it is rarely found in business practices in the field of agriculture. Particularly at the level of home growers. As a result, during these farmers only focus on the production process. As for the process of marketing them more memasrahkannya on middlemen. This kind of thing is what ultimately makes the farmers were never up grade from its manufacturer. And indirectly, it also affect the level of welfare of the farmers.
For that, it takes a lot of cooperation from many parties to the food crisis never happens again in the future. One way this can be achieved is by increasing the degree of farmers. The assumption that farmers had a difficult life, can not be prosperous and financially secure enough not to be removed. Farmers should be removed through education degree.
If all this is often known as the department of agriculture majors who deserted enthusiasts, should the government can solve this problem by providing subsidies in the form of full scholarships for the children of people who are interested to develop agriculture with certain requirements are not so burdensome. And if you can, scholarships are provided not only in the form of a scholarship to study in the country, but also in the form of a scholarship to study abroad. That way, we'll import from developed countries is no longer a product, but rather knowledge.
One thing that should also not be forgotten, though agricultural students know about science in agriculture, it would be better if they collaborated with students from other majors if they want to innovate in agriculture. To make the tools of agriculture, for example, students majoring in agriculture can work together with students of mechanical engineering. To improve the quality of seeds, agricultural students may invite the cooperation of biology majors. To improve the effectiveness of fertilizer and pesticides, agricultural students can collaborate with students majoring in chemistry. And so on. That way, all of the technical issues that have been happening in the farming process can be completed faster and better.
And no less important, although the biggest responsibility is in the hands of the government, real food security is the responsibility of us all. Due to consume, we mean reducing the amount of food. And it also influences the amount of food available. Never a waste of food. Remember, out there are still many people who can not eat.
Finally, education is not the only solution to the current agricultural issues. There are so many other solutions that can be offered. One is as described by Mr. Rhenald Kasali in one of his latest writings. One must remember, though not the only solution, education is one of the best investments that we can give to the next generation of this nation.
"The best legacy parents can give to their children is a science," so my teacher never told.