Jakarta, BRIN Public Relations– Support in terms of research results from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) is an important part in formulating the national development policies in the food and agricultural sector. There are still lots of problems and challenges in the food sector, such as agricultural practices that are still below standard, development of modern agriculture and use of technology through smart farming, improvement of seed quality, to the effect of climate change on food production.

Acting Director of Environmental, Maritime, Natural Resources and Nuclear Energy Development, Deputy for Development Policy, Muhammad Abdul Kholiq explained that in accordance with the mandate as set out in the National Science and Technology System Law, BRIN has the role as the main supporter of the Science Based Policy. The relationship between BRIN and Bappenas is therefore very close.

“BRIN has the task to provide recommendations for the preparation of national development policy plans, while, Bappenas is in charge of formulating national development policies. BRIN of course in the future will closely cooperate with Bappenas,” he explained in a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on food and agriculture, Wednesday (30/3).

According to Kholiq, there are several strategic issues discussed in this FGD, as stated in the Research and Innovation Communication Forum (FKRI) last year. These include preparation of the Long-Term Development Plan 2025-2045 at Bappenas to achieve Golden Indonesia and the Medium-Term Development Plan 2025-2029 in building a Digital, Blue and Green Economy. Here BRIN is also involved in providing inputs from the R&D results. In addition, BRIN has begun preparation of studies on the State Capital (IKN), preparing a new IKN master plan.

Kholiq explained in outline that BRIN divides the two strategic issues by sector. Specifically for the food and agricultural sector, BRIN seeks to build a Green Economy through smart farming and circular economy for the food and agriculture sector. “In building Green Economy, we want to ensure a sustainable economy by paying attention to environmental sustainability, low-carbon economy, new renewable energy and nuclear power. Meanwhile, through a circular economy, we want to reduce extraction of natural resources, utilize waste/garbage into a new economic cycle,” he explained.

Furthermore, BRIN is also involved in the studies on acceleration of New IKN master plan. One of the important studies is on food security in the New IKN, food industry and processing of agricultural products in the areas supporting the new IKN. “The output target of the FGD on Food and Agriculture is to produce 1 policy paper, 1 policy brief/memo, 2 International Scientific Papers (KTI), and 1 National KTI,” he said.

Noor Avianto, Coordinator of Food and Agriculture of the Directorate of Food and Agriculture of Bappenas, explained that under Presidential Regulation No. 18 of 2020 concerning the 2020-2024 RPJMN, there are two priorities in the food and agricultural sectors, namely the program to increase the availability of access and quality of food consumption as well as the program to increase added value, employment, and investment in the real sector and industrialization. “BRIN’s support is very important in the agenda of modernization and digitalization of agriculture, in addition to technological innovations in agricultural cultivation practices that suit the region and land in enhancing food productivity,” he said.

According to him, strengthening the substance of food and agriculture really needs the results of research and innovation. This includes disaster resilience and land management, climate-resistant seeds, fertilizers, feed and pesticides, precision and low-carbon agriculture, food and processed food processing, food derivative products and social engineering of farmers and farmer institutions.

“This is important to boost productivity from technology perspective. We also want to encourage millennial farmers to enter using technology which later replace workers whose quantity is currently decreasing,” he said.

Muh Takdir Mulyadi, Director of Food Crop Protection of the Ministry of Agriculture, said that there are three national strategic commodities, namely rice, corn and soybeans. These three commodities need to have productivity increase, in addition to use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

“I think my research colleagues at BRIN understand very well how these recommendations would change the farmers’ mindset so they will not use excessive chemical fertilizers. We hope that there will be recommendations and studies from BRIN so that it does not have to be like it is now, in addition to use of biological or organic fertilizers. Then how can use of pesticides be reduced in order to lower the farmers production costs,” he explained.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Agriculture also mentioned that there are many areas that need to be optimized, such as swamps and damp areas. The problem is soil fertility. “This is also an opportunity and challenge for researchers to prepare materials on how to improve and utilize agriculture on marginal lands in order to protect our food,” he added. (jml)