IO – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has concluded a work visit to Central Kalimantan to inspect sites for the COVID-19 Mitigation Post and food estate. In this visit, Jokowi was accompanied by Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto. To quote the formal statement made in the Cabinet Secretariat’s official Instagram account @Sekretariat.Kabinet, the first site they inspected for the new food reserve outside of Java Island was located in Bentuk Jaya Village, District of Dadahup, Regency of Kapuas. President Joko Widodo has appointed Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto as the sector leader for National Food Security. Prabowo will manage food strategic reserves.
“We are assigning this task to Mr. Minister of Defense. Naturally, he will be supported by Mr. Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo and Mr. Public Works and Public Housing Basuki Hadimuljono,” Jokowi said at Pulang Pisau, Central Kalimantan, on Thursday, 9 July 2020.
Jokowi hopes that Indonesia will be able to avoid food crisis with the existence of this strategic reserve. The Food and Agriculture Organization (“FAO”) predicts that there will be a global food crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this work visit, the President was also accompanied by Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo, Head of the Presidential Staff Moeldoko, Head of the President’s Secretariat Heru Budi Hartono, the President’s Military Secretary Major General of the Armed Forces Suharyanto, Commandant of the President’s Guards Corps Major General of the Armed Forces Maruli Simanjuntak, and Deputy of Protocol, Press, and Media of the President’s Secretariat Bey Machmudin.
The President has assigned MoD Prabowo Subianto to help with the management of the food reserve. Great Indonesia Movement (Gerakan Indonesia Raya – “Gerindra”) Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said that the food reserve is crucial in order to prevent our country from being dependent on others. A food reserve is also part of national defense: “Food reserve is part of food security, while food is a strategic part of logistic reserves. We need such reserves in order to ensure Indonesia’s food sovereignty and prevent us from dependence on other countries for our food,” he said at the Parliamentary Complex, Senayan, Jakarta, on Thursday (09/07/2020). “This is why President Jokowi appointed Mr. Prabowo, because food is strongly related to our defense.”
The MoD’s Spokesman Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak confirmed that Prabowo accompanied Jokowi in the work visit to inspect food estate site in Central Kalimantan. After all, issues relating to national food reserve are in the domain of the Minister of Defense – as well as other ministries. “The food estate that we are planning to build in Central Kalimantan will become Indonesia’s food logistics reserve. Its management will be handled by several ministries, including the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, under the Ministry of Defense as the leading sector,” he said.
Dahnil further said that the food estate “…is the Government’s effort to prepare for possible non-military threats in the future in the form of food logistic wars. This is why Prabowo accompanied him on the visit,” he said.
Gerindra Spokesman Habiburokhman gave the reason for Prabowo ‘s involvement in food security by mentioning that the Minister has been guiding the Indonesian Agriculture Association’s Forum (Himpunan Kerukunan Tani Indonesia – “HKTI”) for a long time to prepare for something like this. He also mentioned Prabowo’s military background and his relation to food issues. “As a soldier, Mr. Prabowo knows well how important food is to the defense of a nation,” he said. “In my frequent discussions with him, he always says that soldiers calculate food supplies, not just weaponry, before battles.” (Dsy)