Ensuring Food Security: Indonesia’s Strategic Steps Amidst Dry Season Challenges

In the face of an extended dry season known as “Musim Gadu,” Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan) assures the public of ample rice stocks. The 2023 rice balance reflects a surplus of 2.44 million tons, with expectations of an additional 1.5 million tons from the dry season planting before the grand harvest in 2024.

However, households across the nation are grappling with soaring prices of essential commodities, especially rice, during August and September 2023.

As of Tuesday (5/9/2023), the Food Price Panel records a daily national average increase of Rp10 to Rp12,520 per kg for medium rice and Rp100 to Rp14,270 per kg for premium rice.

The fluctuation in rice prices, according to the National Food Body (Bapanas), is closely tied to the production of dry harvest paddy (GKP) by farmers. Field data reinforces this observation.

Analysis of the sample area framework (KSA) by Bapanas indicates a 660,000-ton decrease in rice production from January to October 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Concurrently, according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the harvested paddy area reached 832,000 hectares in September 2023 and 753,000 hectares in October.

Cumulatively, BPS projects rice production from January to October 2023 to reach 27.88 million tons, slightly lower than the consumption of 25.44 million tons during the same period, marking a 1.15% increase from 2022.

The decline in GKP is attributed to extreme drought caused by El Nino, resulting in several rice fields experiencing failure or crop loss.

Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo considers this decline reasonable given the current extreme drought conditions. The estimated projection for crop failure ranges from 380,000 to 1.2 million tons.

Musim Tanam Gadu (Dry Season Planting)

Despite facing an extended dry season, Kementan remains optimistic. Minister Syahrul asserts that there is sufficient time to boost production and achieve the 2023 rice production target.

He claims that the rice balance for 2023 still maintains a surplus of 2.44 million tons. Kementan continues to encourage rice cultivation during this dry season in various paddy fields.

In the agricultural calendar of Indonesia, farmers recognize three planting seasons throughout the year: the main planting season, musim tanam gadu (dry season planting), and musim tanam kemarau (rainy season planting).

Musim tanam gadu, without irrigation, relies solely on rainwater. This season typically spans from April to July.

Efforts are underway to strengthen paddy cultivation in 500,000 hectares during the current musim tanam kemarau. This is expected to yield 3 million tons of paddy, equivalent to 1.5 million tons of rice, contributing significantly to the 2024 harvest. Targeted areas include Sumatra Selatan, Kalimantan Selatan, Jawa Barat, Jawa Timur, Banten, and Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB).

“By January at the latest, before the grand harvest. This is to catch up this year’s harvest at the end of the year,” explains Director General of Crop Production at Kementan, Suwandi, on Wednesday (13/9/2023).