There has been an increase in the price of imported soybeans from the usual price of around 10,000 Indonesian Rupiah per kilogram to 11,000 Rupiah per kilogram. It even reached a peak price of 13,000 Rupiah per kilogram, although it subsequently experienced a decline.
According to Dr. Bayu Dwi Apri Nugroho, an agrometeorology, environmental science, and climate change expert from UGM, the dependency of local producers on imported soybeans is due to the inadequate supply of local soybeans.
Indonesia’s annual need for soybeans is 2.7 million tons, while domestic production is 355 thousand tons.
This naturally requires the procurement of soybeans from abroad to meet national needs. On the other hand, the current global economic situation is not favorable.
The Rupiah exchange rate against the dollar has decreased, and the transportation costs from the country of origin to Indonesia have increased.
“Of course, all of this impacts the prices of imported soybeans circulating in the market,” he said at the UGM Faculty of Agricultural Technology on Friday (November 24).
According to Dr. Nugroho, the increase in global soybean prices is also because some soybean-producing countries, such as the United States and Brazil, have yet to enter the harvest season. These countries will only harvest around December 2023 to January 2024.
“Moreover, currently, some soybean-producing countries are also implementing export restrictions. This means that exported soybeans are decreasing, and it certainly impacts price increases in importing countries,” he explained.
Export restrictions by soybean-producing countries are also caused by a decrease in soybean production in their countries. One of the contributing factors is the impact of climate change.
He mentioned that changing climate conditions cause soybean production in soybean-producing countries suboptimal.
“The El Nino phenomenon, as one of the climate change indicators in 2023, is a factor causing a decrease in production in various soybean-producing countries,” he said.
So, how should Indonesia respond to the increase in soybean prices? According to him, some steps that can be taken include providing subsidies from the government to maintain soybean prices at a stable level.
However, he mentioned that various solutions are still needed for the medium and long term. These steps include developing superior soybean varieties suitable for environmental conditions in Indonesia.
“Because we know that soybeans are suitable for sub-tropical climate conditions. Although for Indonesia with a tropical climate, it can also grow even though the results are not optimal,” he explained.
The next step that can be taken is to utilize or optimize existing lands. This is necessary because soybeans planted in Indonesia are not a primary crop but an intercrop.
“It means it can be planted in the planting season (MT3) after food crops, in this case, rice or corn,” he elaborated.
Dr. Nugroho believes that there will be a time when dedicated lands are needed, specifically lands prepared for planting soybean commodities and are no longer used as intercrop lands.
Strengthening the national soybean ecosystem from upstream to downstream on a massive and serious scale, coordinated by both the government and the private sector, is also necessary for increased production and the stability of prices at the farmer level.
“I think the involvement of stakeholders such as farmers, local governments, research institutions or universities, banks, and off-takers is the key to success in the national soybean ecosystem,” he added.
Author: Agung Nugroho