Government needs to pay attention and protection to food processing system in terms of production and consumption. This is because level of land conversion from agricultural to non-agricultural land is decreasing while population is increasing.
“The agricultural land is getting more limited, between 50 thousand - 100 thousand hectares losing every year in Indonesia,” said Governor of Province of Yogyakarta Special Region, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, in a speech read out by Head of Food Issue Dissemination of Yogyakarta office, Ir. Arofa Noor Indriani, M.Si., in the National Seminar on implementation of agricultural biotechnology and contribution to food security in Indonesia on Tuesday (23/5) at auditorium of Faculty of Agriculture UGM.
Sri Sultan said to meet the needs of food for over 237 million people would require around 13 million of productive lands. “But currently, there are only 7.7 million hectares at the rate around 1.9 percent annually of population increase that will create social problems related to food issue,” he said.
So, the government needs to do special efforts to increase the production of national food by increasing productivity through technology implementation intensively, among others by use of superior seeds. “Until today, the use of superior seed as solution to get new varieties is only done through hybrid of genetical diversity to resolve crop issue,” he said.
Sri Sultan said one of biotechnology product in the country is development of transgenic corn that is seen as resistant to pests so it reducese the use of pesticides. “In terms of biotechnology aspect, this would benefit human beings,” he said.
Director of Indonesian Biotechnology Information Centre (IndoBIC), Bambang Purwantara, said it is about time the government pay attention to the development of biotechnology in food area along with the government’s decreasing food imports. “Our import has been decreased, so it is time to develop food biotechnology application,” he said. This is because such development in the country is left far behind by the Philippines and Vietnam.
According to Bambang, one of the problems in biotechnology development in food is the long process from submitting proposal to getting approval to be applied among society.
“Some people often misinterpret biotechnology. Even the process to produce sugar cane has gone for five years, corn almost ten years to be approved because there had been so much caution put into it,” he concluded.