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Indonesia’s President Urges Embrace of Smart Tech in Agriculture

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Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo called on regional governments with strong agricultural sectors to embrace smart technology to modernise their work systems. Speaking at the National Working Meeting (Rakornas) on Inflation Control at the State Palace in Jakarta, President Jokowi stressed the necessity of leveraging advanced technology to enhance agricultural practices across Indonesia.

Image credits: ANTARA

“Now is the era of technology, the era of smart systems. Continue to improve it, especially in the districts. We must be able to upgrade our agricultural system to become smart agriculture, especially for the advantages that exist in our respective regions,” he affirmed, directing the call to action at regional heads from all provinces, cities, and districts, who attended the meeting both online and offline.

President Jokowi highlighted the importance of focusing agricultural research on superior commodities unique to each region. “When doing research, you do not have to do it for many (commodities); only the superior ones,” he remarked.

By concentrating on the most promising commodities, regions can create models of success that can be replicated across the country. “Do research; make a model. If you succeed in coffee, replicate it,” he advised regional governments.

In addition to technological upgrades, President Jokowi urged regional governments to attract investment to build processing industries. This would add value to agricultural and plantation products, creating a more integrated and efficient distribution system.

In line with this vision, the Indonesian government has been proactive in gathering comprehensive agricultural data through the Agriculture Census 2023 (ST2023). Launched last year by President Jokowi, the census aims to provide detailed agricultural data, serving as a benchmark for current statistics and creating a sample frame for surveys. Covering seven sub-sectors, including food crops and animal husbandry, the census is conducted by BPS-Statistics Indonesia with the help of 196,000 enumerators.

The census employs multimode data collection methods such as PAPI (Paper Assisted Personal Interviewing), CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing), and CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing), ensuring accuracy and adherence to international standards. The initiative also addresses contemporary agricultural issues like urban farming and the involvement of millennial farmers, emphasising the importance of active participation from all agricultural business actors.

Moreover, Communications and Informatics Minister Budi Arie Setiadi confirmed that a national data centre, expected to be completed in September 2024, will enhance system integration and interoperability. This facility, located in Cikarang, West Java, is part of the government’s broader plan to build additional centres in Batam and the future capital, Nusantara.

The national data centre is a crucial component of the One Data One Policy (SDI) initiative, which integrates thousands of existing data centres to improve decision-making. Previously, Indonesia had 27,000 apps across various ministries and 2,700 government data centres, leading to inefficient public services. The SDI policy aims to create high-quality, accessible data that can be shared between central and regional agencies.

By consolidating data, the government can respond more swiftly and effectively to various issues. As observed in other countries, integrated data systems significantly reduce the time required for data processing, enabling faster and more efficient public services.

President Jokowi’s push for smart agriculture and improved data integration is a forward-thinking strategy aimed at enhancing Indonesia’s agricultural sector. By leveraging advanced technologies, focusing on superior commodities, and building robust processing and distribution systems, Indonesia can transform its agricultural practices to meet modern demands.

The success of these initiatives depends on the active involvement of regional governments, private sectors, and agricultural business actors. With the right support and implementation, Indonesia is poised to become a global leader in smart agriculture, driving significant socio-economic benefits and ensuring food security and farmer welfare for the future.

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