The Presidential Staff Office (KSP) supports Yahukimo Regency to become a center for food security in the mountainous region of Papua and eastern Indonesia.
This was conveyed by the Presidential Chief of Staff, Dr. Moeldoko when meeting with the Regent of Yahukimo, Didimus Yahuli, at the Bina Graha Building, Jakarta, Tuesday (9/8/2022), as quoted from ksp.go.id.
Not only as a strategic gateway to the Central Highlands of Papua from the Papua’s southern region, but Yahukimo also has the potential to support Papua’s national and regional food security due to the availability of extensive agricultural land.
“ Geographically, Yahukimo Regency is still quite isolated and access to connecting roads is still very limited, so food security must be strengthened first, while waiting for the road access construction process to be completed,” Moeldoko said, accompanied by KSP’s Deputy V Jaleswari Pramodhawardani.
Yahukimo’s local government has prepared 200 hectares of agricultural land with water sources for irrigation. This agricultural land is not only prepared for rice, but also for other commodities that have high economic value.
“Propelling the food security program in Yahukimo is not easy, considering that in 2009, Yahukimo was hit by famine. In fact, Yahukimo has tremendous potential to become a food center. Therefore, encouragement from all parties is really needed,” Moeldoko added.
On the other hand, the Yahukimo government also hopes that the central government will help the local government to build infrastructure by connecting roads between Yahukimo Regency to Wamena and Yahukimo Regency to Jayawijaya Regency.
In addition, Regent Didimus Yahuli also hopes that the government will immediately open access roads from Yahukimo Regency to the center of Pepera port, to facilitate distribution and transportation routes to and from Yahukimo.
“The Regency of Yahukimo is very strategic with an area of 17,152 sq km with a population of 350,880 people. Now that the mountainous Papua region has been brought closer, the opening of roads and access to and from Yahukimo can support the progress of Papua’s highlands,” said Didimus.
Meanwhile, the Head of the Food Crops, Horticulture and Plantation Office of the West Papua’s Provincial Government, Yacob S Fonataba, has high hopes that Papua can become a good agricultural center and can have income from agricultural programs, so that the community’s economy can develop and there will be no dependence. Subsequently, one of the most important things is the availability of food stock that is accessible to the community.
“So far, judging from the consumption pattern for instance, people have started to switch from consuming local food to food production, such as rice. The production of 10 thousand hectares of rice has not been able to meet the needs and we have to finally bring it in from outside.
There must be food self-sufficiency in West Papua, that’s my hope,” Yacob said recently, as quoted from portonews.com. For this reason, he and all relevant regional authorities are working hard so that various parties who support agricultural development in West Papua will not damage the environment if it is still within an area where conservation has been implemented.
“Clearing land for plantations has something to do with conservation areas. That’s what we always tighten to maintain regional conservation. The provincial government no longer allows the opening of new lands, particularly forests that are still primary and secondary are no longer allowed,” he said.
Moreover, since the Manokwari Declaration which limits the clearing of forest areas and must implement conservation measures, the provincial government also acted decisively in terms of clearing land for plantations.
Papua’s Approach Concerning Food Security
The tribes in Papua actually have wisdom and food security strategies to survive. Residents are able to provide local food independently using traditional farming practices that have been applied from generation to generation for thousands of years. Quoting greener.co, the farming techniques are adapted to each area such as the highlands, lowlands, and the coasts.
Daawia Suhartawan, a Biology lecturer at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences from Cenderawasih University, Jayapura, said that Papua’s traditional people cultivate land by using a polyculture system or mixed cultivation that can guarantee food safety.
This method is more applied than monoculture planting systems that have polluted water, soil, and air. The use of fertilizers and pesticides in modern agriculture has also led to an outburst of chemical pests and herbicides which are harmful to human and earth’s wellbeing.