Monday, 25th September 2017

Food reinforces national resilience

12th September 2017 | 2.051 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A strong country will not only need an adequate defense force but also sufficient food supplies that reinforce its resilience.

Hence, it is not surprising that food resilience poses a major challenge now and in the future. President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has even described food as the main factor that will hold the reign of power in future.

Ultimately, food is part of the energy sector, which could trigger conflicts. Present-day conflicts in the world have been triggered by the fight to control energy.

According to Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Commander General Gatot Nurmantyo, some 70 percent of the worlds conflicts were fights to gain control over energy and oil.

"I ensure you that 70 percent of the conflicts are due to the fight to seize oil energy, as fossil energy cannot be renewed, and it is critical," the TNI commander had noted in a public lecture at the London School of Public Relations in Jakarta last month.

Once energy sources run out by 2056, the world will be faced with a looming food and water crisis. Other countries will then target the food and water resources owned by states that are situated close to the equator.

"Countries far from the equator that have a population of about 9.8 billion will target nations closer to the equator, such as the ASEAN countries, Colombia, and Mexico, for their food and water," the TNI commander highlighted.

According to Nurmantyo, countries far from the equator will then view Indonesia as a country rich in natural resources.

Hence, President Jokowi believes it is the food sector and not politics and law that will hold the reins of power in future.

"Those who have food will hold the reins," the president stated in his oration at the open session of the anniversary of the Bogor Institute of Agriculture in Bogor, West Java, on Wednesday (Sept 6).

He said countries, in future, will compete to gain control over food, energy, and water, so it is necessary for the state to prepare logistics to make it resilient from being conquered.

"Without adequate logistics, the country can easily be conquered, as in future, food and not politics or law will have a commanding authority," he pointed out.

Thus, new paradigms and innovations in the food sector need to be made.

"Without this, it is difficult for us to compete with other countries," he added.

The president reiterated that Indonesia needs to adapt to the fast global changes if it does not want to lose its competitive edge. He admitted to often reminding his ministers about food-related issues.

Indonesian Minister of Research, Technology, and Higher Education Mohamad Nasir also stressed the importance of developing food technology in order to advance the country in the food sector and continue to maintain food resilience.

According to the minister who attended the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit on science and technology in Kazakhstan on Sept 10-11, Indonesia will offer several types of technologies related to food and water management.

"It is very important for Indonesia to serve as a motivator to conduct studies in food technology in future," Minister Nasir remarked.

At the OIC ministerial meeting, Indonesia also raised the importance of OIC developing technology in the maritime field.

"This is very important, as Indonesia is the worlds largest archipelago. We have discussed maritime development, including biodiversity and ship building (with other OIC ministers)," he explained.

Indonesia, as a maritime nation, has the potential to build food resilience by utilizing its rich marine resources. He cited as an example the fishermen who were unable to tackle the problem of trawls for years.

"Trawl problems have been faced for years, but they remain unresolved. However, the world has now shifted to offshore aquaculture. Why are we not able to adapt to these changes?" he questioned.

The head of state emphasized that fishermen should be imparted education, so that they can develop offshore aquaculture, and the problem of trawls can be solved. Thus, fishermen will become increasingly involved in building the countrys food resilience.

The food resilience issue poses a huge challenge at present; hence the maritime affairs and fisheries ministry has made steady efforts to boost food productivity.

"At present, every country faces a huge challenge in terms of food resilience," Slamet Soebjato, the director general of aquaculture of the ministry, pointed out.

Rapid population growth has triggered an increasing demand for food. The ministry has been making efforts to increase food production in the fishery sector by expanding land productivity and carrying out accountable and sustainable management, among other things.

In the agricultural sector, farmers will be able to enjoy added value by forming cooperatives to ensure that they are able to benefit from their agricultural plantations. Yet most farmers in Indonesia have small land holdings, measuring some 0.25-0.3 hectares per farmer.

Fishermens, animal breeders, and farmers cooperatives need to be formed to improve their welfare and help develop the nations food resilience.(*)