There are Traces of the New Order behind India Becoming the World’s Rice King

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Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan opened up about India’s strategy to become one of the largest rice producers in the world. He said the strategy used by the country of Bollywood was similar to that implemented by the 2nd President of the Republic of Indonesia, Soeharto.

Zulkifli said the strategy in question was for the government to provide unmitigated subsidies to farmers. “There is no ambiguity in the policy, the main thing is that farmers are heavily subsidized. All fertilizers, flowers, everything is not bargained for, for the domestic sector they are consuming everything, it’s a bit like the New Order of fertilizer irrigation,” said Zulkifli in a working meeting with Commission VI DPR RI, Thursday (4/9/2023).

Zulkifli admitted that he was surprised by India’s success in food self-sufficiency, even though its population reached 1.4 billion people. The General Chair of the National Mandate Party said he asked the Indian Ministry of Trade directly.

According to him, the key to India’s success in food self-sufficiency lies in the management of the agricultural industry which relies on cooperatives, not conglomerations. “Everyone uses cooperatives, not conglomerates, all farming is cooperative,” he said.

According to Zulkifli, the role of cooperatives in India is very broad, even to the distribution and production of fertilizer. According to him, fertilizer in India is not produced by large companies, but by cooperatives. These cooperatives then distribute the fertilizer to farmers. The government, he said, only takes a role in research and development.

“He doesn’t use a fertilizer factory like ours, but fertilizer is made by cooperatives and research by the government,” he said.

Zulhas said the strategy was different from that implemented by Indonesia. According to him, the fertilizer bureaucracy in Indonesia is too complicated. The result, he said, is that fertilizer stocks can disappear during the planting period and only become available during the harvest period.

“We regulate too much fertilizer. When the rice fields need fertilizer, the farmers don’t have any fertilizer, when they harvest there is no fertilizer. This doesn’t run out,” he said.

He said that not only India, other ASEAN countries such as Vietnam are also countries that have a surplus in agriculture, especially rice. One of the keys to success is the government’s seriousness in developing agriculture.

“In Vietnam agricultural land is higher than National Parks. So agriculture cannot be used as housing, factories, if it is a rice field it cannot be changed forever. We have laws but that’s still the case. If we are serious we can,” said Zulhas.

However, Indonesia can no longer be too dependent on imports from other countries. This is because each country is tightening export policies in order to secure domestic stocks. The El Nino factor is also another consideration. “Vietnam reduced its rice planting because El Nino was dry, rice takes up a lot of water, so it planted rice (initially) for 2 seasons, becoming 1 season because of the surplus,” said Zulhas.

Source : CNBC