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Observer responds to Prabowo Subianto's agricultural optimism amid food estate failure

Tempo - March 7, 2024

Novali Panji Nugroho, Jakarta – Presidential candidate number two Prabowo Subianto believed that in less than five years Indonesia will be able to become an exporter and gain food independence.

Responding to Prabowo's optimism, an agricultural observer from the Center of Reform on Economics (CORE), Eliza Mardian, believed that the approach is an incorrect one.

"He is always optimistic in any case, it's just that the approach used is wrong," she said when contacted on Wednesday.

People are already reflecting on previous programs' track records, Eliza went on, one of which is the failure of the food estate program. "This food estate program must be evaluated completely since it continues to fail and harm the surrounding community," said Eliza.

Instead of continuing to build food estates that have failed, Eliza said that the government should start focusing on the intensification of existing land. "Farmers on Javanese land are not given enough attention, (production) is allowed to continue to decline due to irrigation damage, while the government is busy opening up new land and even sacrificing forests," she said.

However, the current government is still oriented towards extensification, not intensification of existing land. It would be difficult to boost food production if the policies made by the government failed to address the core issue, namely the welfare of farmers.

Prabowo expressed his optimism while attending the Mandiri Investment Forum 2024 event in Jakarta on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. On that occasion, the vice presidential candidate Gibran Rakabuming Raka stated that Indonesia could become food-independent and exporter in the next 3 to 4 years.

According to Prabowo, Indonesia must learn from countries like China and India. "We must learn from the best practices of India and China in alleviating poverty in many countries in the world."

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1841932/observer-responds-to-prabowo-subiantos-agricultural-optimism-amid-food-estate-failur