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Foundation for Indonesia’s Advancement: Our Nation’s Potential [Indonesia’s Prime Production]

By: Prabowo Subianto [excerpted from “National Transformation Strategy: Towards Golden Indonesia 2045,” pages 147-148, 4th softcover edition]

Food security is a life-and-death matter for any nation. We can survive without skyscrapers. We can survive without cars. But we cannot live without food: without rice, corn, cassava, and so on.

Therefore, as a nation, we must view food strategically. Anyone aspiring to lead this country must see food security as highly strategic. I have always urged the government, the authorities, the ruling parties to focus on developing the agricultural sector. We must not depend on food imports, so our nation doesn’t have to rely on anyone. If we rely on imports, when our currency weakens, the cost of importing goods becomes very expensive, and the people may go hungry.

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We have ample land, an ecosystem, and a climate highly suitable for agriculture. Clearly, we are a tropical country. Indonesia occupies one-third of the world’s tropical zone. We are the second-largest tropical country after Brazil, which is slightly larger than us.

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In the tropics, we can harvest three times a year. In temperate countries, those outside the tropics, they can only harvest once due to six months of winter. This is our advantage.

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For instance, a tree that grows in a temperate country needs 25 years to mature enough for harvesting. Some even take 27, 30 years. In our country, it takes only 5 years. So, our advantage is fivefold compared to countries outside the tropics.

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Throughout history, other nations have come to us and taken our wealth. What did they take? They took our agricultural products. Our spices, rubber, tea, coffee, right?

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We possess advantages that other nations do not. We must leverage these strengths. Our economic resilience and strength lie broadly in the agricultural sector. Agriculture, fisheries, forestry. These are the sectors we should focus on managing diligently, carefully, comprehensively. We should not leave it all to the market.

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Besides agriculture, we also have potential in mineral resources. I once discussed this potential with President Jokowi, who told me: “Defense Minister, if we don’t process our resources downstream (hilirisasi), we can’t become a developed country. We can’t become a prosperous country.”

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Beyond our mineral wealth, we’re also rich in agricultural and fisheries potential. Experts from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries estimate that we can sustainably produce up to 12 million tons of fish annually. Thanks to Indonesia’s extensive seas, we’re looking at a potential for marine aquaculture production of 50 million tons each year.

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Currently, the protein consumption of the Indonesian population is 62 grams per capita per day. This means that with 280 million Indonesians, multiplied by 365 days, our nation needs 6.3 million tons of protein per year. The potential from our fisheries alone should already meet this need.

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