Jokowi urges Indonesians to use idle land to plant rice, corn

President Joko Widodo urged Indonesians to make use of idle land to plant rice, corn and other staples to build up the nation’s food supplies amid the global shortage fueled by the war in Ukraine.

“Brothers and sisters who can plant rice, please plant rice. What else do you want to plant? Corn? Go ahead. Right now the price of corn is going up,” he said on Wednesday at a gathering of farmers in Central Java.

Jokowi, as the president is known, asked his ministers to look into why there are plots left abandoned despite the owners holding land use permits issued decades ago. The government must also speed up land redistribution and improve infrastructure for farmers.

Indonesians have seen supplies run short and prices soar for everyday food items such as cooking oil, soybean and wheat, stretching household budgets and stirring public discontent. Southeast Asia’s largest economy has resorted to price caps, export bans and subsidies to stave off a food crisis, as supply chain disruptions and poor weather wreak havoc in the world’s food distribution. –Bloomberg