Ban on Farm Commodity Imports to Boss Local Farmers

DENPASAR

The government’s policy to ban the importation of 13 horticultural commodities will boost farmers to develop their potentials optimally, a professor said.

“The government has decided to impose a ban on the importation of horticultural commodities, including fruits and vegetables in a permanent and sustainable way because local farmers always have  difficulties marketing their commodities during grand harvest time,” Professor Dewa Ngurah Suprapta of the Denpasar-based Udayana University said here.

According to him, the policy is quite proper since Indonesia has a vast area of fertile land.

“If the potentials are developed maximally and supported by adequate infrastructures throughout the country, Indonesia will be able to achieve food security,” said Suprapta, who is the lecturer of the university’s school of agriculture.

But he added that infrastructures, including roads and seaports in the eastern parts of Indonesia still pose an obstacle to the marketing of agricultural products.

“The abundant agricultural commodities in a certain area during the harvest time do not have economic value because they cannot be marketed to other areas due to transportation problem,” said Suprapta.

That Indonesia is very open to imported farm products has often caused difficulties to local farmers to market their commodities because of low prices, he said.

Citing an example, he said the government’s policy to open the domestic market as widely as possible to imported garlic caused the price of the commodity to fall to a record low of Rp2,000 a kg in the past.

“However, when local farmers no longer grew garlic plant, the price of the commodity skyrocketed to Rp30,000 a kg,” said Suprapta.

Given the ban on the importation of agricultural commodities, local farmers will undoubtedly take maximum advantage of the opportunity so that they can increase their income, he said.

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