Jayapura, Jubi/Antara – Local products including rice and other food commodities could only meet 52 percent of food needs in Papua, the Head of the Papua Plantation and Agriculture Office, Semuel Siriwa said in Jayapura City on Tuesday (17/2/2015).
He said the cheap rice (raskin) program that has been introduced in recent years greatly affected rice production in several areas such as Jayawijaya Regency.
“When the cheap rice program started in Papua, it affected the people’s habit. They are no longer interested in farming and now tens of thousands of hectares of rice field are no longer planted in Jayawijaya,” he said.
However, he further said the Plantation and Agriculture Office would keep their efforts to encourage the local farmers to return to their farms, especially the paddy farmers.
“We keep doing some efforts, including to motivate the local farmers to work on their farms,” he said without elaborating the efforts they have made.
Meanwhile, in achieving a target of rice barn in Papua, Siriwa said Papua is still far reaching the target of food self-sufficiency in 2018 as declared in Merauke Regency.
“Merauke has been able to meet its food needs, but there is complain about the lack of labors to work in the rice field,” he said.
‘So, in the national scale, Papua is very less contributed because until now we only can fulfill 52 percent of food self-sufficiency,” he said.
Based on the strategic plan of Plantation and Agriculture Office, Papua could only produce 60 percent of rice from 400 hectares every year.
“We are planning to prepare 2,000 hectares in 2015 and 4,000 hectares more in 2016. The requirement of rice field in Papua is about 16,000 hectares but I don’t know if we could achieve it if we just depend on the Merauke farmers,” he said.
He added his office would also build the rice fields in Mappi, Boven Digoel, Nabire, Jayapura and Jayawijaya regencies to achieve food self-sufficiency in Papua. (*/Rom)