Strongly agree with what Khudori wrote with an article titled "Bulog Pasca Beras Sejahtera" (https://www.mediaindonesia.com). The article tells about femonena, food conditions in the homeland now and the state of BULOG after the loss of prosperous rice. But what I am highlighting is not about the future of BULOG, but there is something more important and bigger behind it all that is; the future of the people, the nation and the existence of the State. So, if we put forward the basis then there is no need to count the costs and various arguments. All this is because it is the obligation of the State to protect every citizen especially fulfilling the basic needs of the right to food.
The Tragedy of Chinese Famine
Remember us when the tragedy of starvation occurred in China which is famous for the term "The Great Chinese Famine". The tragedy is the darkest period in Chinese history that occurred between 1958 and 1961. There are about 45 million people killed by starvation. The causes are two, first, drought and second, the policies of the communist party under the leadership of Mao Zedong who are determined to implement new economic and social policies, when society is not ready with the consequences.
Mao Zedong forced China from an agrarian country into an industrial giant during a drought disaster. As a result the supply of food becomes thinning and depleted. In every area of ??the people became hungry until the most extreme practice of cannibalism was prevalent. The famine lasted for three years, killing about 5% of the total Chinese population at the time.
What can we learn from the tragedy? first, the wrong policy was taken by the government at the time and second, a result of the policy that has killed 45 million people.
Back to the article written by Khudori, when the highest retail price instrument (HET) of rice in effect in September 2017 has not been effective yet to dampen the price fluctuation? So the remaining alternative to overcome this is to enlarge the government's rice reserves (CBP), from 350 thousand tons currently to 1.5–2 million tons.
With the CBP of that size, plus the rest of the quota of literature, BULOG can still be controlling the rice market. The existence of BULOG as a controller becomes important because the rice market is vulnerable to turmoil, whether due to weather, climate change, and imperfect markets.
The problem is, it takes Rp15 trillion-Rp20 trillion. That does not include maintenance and other costs. Will the government go that way?
CBP is a certain amount of government-owned rice whose source is derived from APBN and managed by BULOG. CBP is used to meet the needs of the community against rice needs and in anticipation of food shortages, price fluctuations, emergencies resulting from disasters and food insecurity and compliance with the ASEAN Emergency Rice Reserve (AERR).
President Jokowi once asked CBP as much as 10 million tons with the endurance of rice reserves about 3-4 months. So, if something happens, Indonesian rice reserves can last for 3 or 4 months ahead. The President also compared the CBP with the Chinese State which has a reserve of about 40 million tons of rice and the Philippines with 2.5 million tons of rice reserves with a population of 90 million people. CBP can also be used for various government programs, such as food for work, exports, anti-poverty programs, and international assistance.
This argument is also similar according to other food experts. So, from all the reviews that exist and based on the previous review, then no longer need to be debated further but immediately executed. If not, fear the government will take the wrong policy and will actually sacrifice the people and endanger the State. But what should be underlined is that one people's life is more valuable and will not be judged by any money. If this becomes a debate, it will certainly waste energy, time and money.Message Bung Karno "Jas Merah"
The above historical fragment proves to be dangerous if hunger occurs in a region. So it is appropriate if President Soekarno warns the Indonesian people with his famous words "Jasmerah" or never leave history. The famous motto is spoken by President Soekarno during his last speech on the anniversary of the Republic of Indonesia on August 17,1966.
Even about food, President Soekarno is very, very serious and serious. This was shown at the time of the first stone laying of the Faculty of Agriculture University of Indonesia-named Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), 27 April 1952, Bung Karno talked about food and the future of the nation. "My speech is about the death of our nation in the future," he said.
In particular rice received more attention from Bung Karno, because it concerns the lives of many people. "The question of meeting food needs should be given top priority, because the people who are required to participate in the great production movement must have food security, especially rice," said Bung Karno in Dekarasi Ekonomi (Dekon) in 1960. The words " this word is a reminder, so we must make history both from domestic and abroad as learning to be taken hikmahnya (https://www.berdikarionline.com).
Above had been told how China in the 1960s, but the question how about China now. Did they also learn from the tragedy? yes, of course they take the wisdom of that history.
Now, China has reformed its agricultural sector with four approaches: market control, agricultural efficiency, potentially disadvantageous land restrictions and imports. In addition to balance with technology to maintain product quality. China does not hesitate to spend billions of dollars to invest in irrigation systems, seeds, robot use, livestock development and repair of pollution damage.
In addition, the use of unmanned massive aircraft used to spray fertilizers and chemicals and ward off plant pests and diseases. The use of mobile technology for handling water needs and the dosing of pesticides monitored by computer has also been applied. Another breakthrough is China is also partnering with many countries such as New Zealand and Australia to produce cheese, milk and smoked salmon. Then with a Japanese company producing vegetable oil-free noodles. China even claimed to have the most advanced instant noodle technology in the world today.
Even the latest is China's ambition to become the world's largest food barn capable of feeding 9 billion people. The way that China is doing is to vigorously buy or lease agricultural land in poor and developing countries such as Asia, Africa and South America that have not used much land for agriculture. This is because the average size of agricultural land cultivated by Chinese farmers is less than 1 hectare. China entered Mozambique to meet the needs of wheat. Last year China's grain reserves were above 600 million tons. Renting and buying land in a number of countries that are considered to have technology-based agriculture such as in the United States ie in Missouri. Then, Brazil, Cambodia, and Australia.
Incredible efforts of the Chinese government, not only think of the stomach of the people themselves but the affairs of the people in the world. What about the Indonesian government, are there any institutions that deal with food let alone related to the control or price stabilization in the market?
The Role of BULOG in Price Stabilization
In fact, the presence of Bulog as an institution of food price stabilization has a special meaning in supporting the success of the New Order until the achievement of rice self-sufficiency in 1984. Previously, the phenomenon of the people queue to buy rice due to rare and expensive price is clearly visible in the streets of the capital. Thanks to hard effort and earnest attention to food, slowly but surely the Indonesian state has changed its face. The world's largest rice importing country has become a rice exporting country and FAO recognizes this.At that time, the organizational structure of BULOG was strengthened with a number of tasks and authorities. The main tasks are to support the increase of food production and then be reinforced to buffer stock holder and distribution for budget group. Furthermore, the task is reinforced to implement the price control of rice, grain, wheat and other basic commodities in order to maintain price stability, both for producers and consumers in accordance with the Government's general policy.
In 1995, Presidential Decree No. 50, to refine the organizational structure of BULOG which basically aims to further sharpen the main tasks, functions and role of BULOG. Therefore, BULOG's responsibility is more focused on improving the stabilization and management of staple and food supplies. The main task of BULOG according to the Presidential Decree is to control prices and manage the supply of rice, sugar, wheat, wheat, soybeans, food and other food, either directly or indirectly, in order to maintain food price stability for producers and consumers and meet food needs based on the Government's general policy.
Entering the monetary crisis of 1997, the turning point for food management began. Indonesia that has been well established in good food management system has been harassed with the interests of outside countries that promote the benefits of business alone. This is evident from Presidential Decree no. 45 year 1997, where commodities managed by BULOG are reduced and stay rice and sugar. Then through the Presidential Decree No. 19 of 1998 dated January 21, 1998, the Government returned the task of BULOG as Presidential Decree No. 39 of 1968. Furthermore, through Presidential Decree No. 19 of 1998, the scope of commodities handled BULOG again narrowed in line with the agreement taken by the Government with the IMF contained in a Letter of Intent (LoI). Finally led to the issuance of Government Regulation No. RI. 7 of 2003 BULOG officially switched its status to Public Company (Perum) BULOG
So with the change of assignment to BULOG which is narrower and limited authority, it is certain that food fluctuation will happen at any time. Endless food polemics from year to year as well as cases that are always the same and repeatedly will continue to exist. However, all such incidents can be overcome if the government is committed to implementing the existing agreement. Especially as soon as possible in the formation of National Food Agency (https://bulogterkini.com). Actually, it is one of the concrete steps if we take wisdom and want to learn from China Country.
We should ponder, the words Henry Alfred Kissinger "Control oil and you control the nations, control food and you control the people". That is, oil control then you will control the country; control of food then you will control the people.
*) Doctoral Candidate of Agricultural Sciences Sriwijaya University