Indonesia's new president targets food sustainability within 4 yrs

by Reuters
Monday, 20 October 2014 09:21 GMT

A farmer holds up dried corn kernels, donated by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) food reserves, during a distribution of food aid to families affected by the drought in the village of Orocuina, Honduras, on August 28, 2014. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

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New leader aims for self-sufficiency in sugar, rice and maize

JAKARTA, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Indonesia's new president Joko Widodo said on Monday that he wanted the Southeast Asian nation to be self-sufficient in food staples sugar, rice and corn within four years.

Widodo took over as president of the world's third-largest democracy on Monday with supporters' hopes high but pressing economic problems and sceptical rivals set to test the former furniture businessman.

"Looking forward, we should be working hard to raise the production of our agriculture products so that in three years we can be self sufficient in several commodities," Widodo said in a televised teleconference with farmers, doctors, teachers and students across the archipelago.

"This is not an easy target but I'm confident with hard work we can achieve our proclaimed target in three to four years."

Widodo's predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, introduced self-sufficiency targets in 2009 after food prices soared, but many have not been met partly due to red tape and corruption scandals over import quotas that caused shortages for food such as beef. (Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo; writing by Michael Taylor; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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