Indonesia still needs to import maize as domestic production has not increased while demand for the commodity continues to increase, according to Indonesian Agribusiness Club Secretary Tony Kristiyanto.
“Let us review the price of maize at the end of this month. If it does not come down, it means there is no additional domestic production. If there is no stock, it will be impossible for us to not import the commodity,” he stated recently.
He noted that Indonesia had to import maize since it is used as animal feed. However, seed and fertilizer assistance as well as price incentive worth Rp five thousand per kg have failed to encourage farmers to directly plant maize soon after the harvest.
Lack of interest among farmers to plant maize was due to a reduction in agricultural areas as a result of resettlement and industrial expansion. Therefore, he called on the government to increase maize plantations and provide more land for growing the commodity.
“The government only thinks of allocating land for rice farms, although it is much easier to clear land for (maize) plantations. Since the land preparation cost for maize plantations is far lower than that for rice farms, so the government should provide more land for plantations like those offered for setting up rice farms,” he added.
He said so far, there was no policy that regulated maize imports, particularly to meet the animal feed needs. What exists is a law on food, which regulates human consumption and a law on animal husbandry and health, which regulates the animal husbandry business and animal health.
“There is no set procedure for maize import for animal feed. The government could not stop maize imports based on the law on food. Regarding the law on animal husbandry and health, the government’s function is limited to coordination only. Therefore, imports will continue as supply is short,” he explained.
The major concern for the industry is that maize imports might increase as several animal feed industries switched to wheat as a substitute for maize. The high price of wheat is feared to trigger a hike in the price of animal feeds. The increase in maize imports can reach 25 percent.
Source: Antara News