Thursday, August 16th 2021, Master of Agribusiness Study Program of Faculty of Animal and Agricultural Sciences, Diponegoro University in collaboration with the Semarang Regional Commissariat of Agricultural Economics Association held an online Webinar discussing the strategic role of agriculture in Indonesia. This webinar is held as an effort to increase public knowledge and strengthen cooperation networks between the various parties involved.

Webinar with the theme of “The Strategic Role of Agriculture in Supporting Economic Growth and Food Providers” was opened by the Dean of Faculty of Animal and Agricultural Sciences of Diponegoro University, Prof. Dr. Ir. Bambang Waluyo Hadi Eko Prasetiyono, M.S., M.Agr., IPU and moderated by the Chair of the Semarang Regional Commissariat of Agricultural Economics Association, Dr. Ir. Edy Prasetyono, M.S. This webinar presents two speakers who are experts in their fields, namely Prof. Dr. Ir. Bustanul Arifin, M.Sc,  General Chair of the Indonesian Agricultural Economics Association and a Professor at the University of Lampung; and Dr. Ir. Arifin Rudiyanto, M.Sc., Deputy for Maritime Affairs and Natural Resources at Ministry of National Development Planning of the Republic of Indonesia. His big name succeeded in attracting the enthusiasm of the community, it was recorded that this webinar was attended by 209 participants from various fields.

In this 3 hours webinar, Prof. Bustanul Arifin said that the pandemic had disrupted the economic system. As a result, agricultural production has not been able to return to normal. The pattern of harvesting and rice production has become increasingly dependent on the season. This condition is commonly found in food crop commodities, such as rice and corn. Meanwhile, different conditions are actually shown in the poultry and oil palm plantation sectors. Both actually show an increasingly positive trend. Meanwhile, sugar field still requires Indonesia to import from other countries. To overcome these various problems, it is necessary to strengthen the agricultural ecosystem and the application of a food system approach. In the future, the government needs to facilitate technological change from the input side, policy intervention, preparing off takers in a market driven approach, creating an inclusive partnership concept, and strengthening access to finance and financial literacy.

On the other hand, Dr. Arifin Rudiyanto explained that the demographic structure and consumption patterns have become the basis for food and agricultural development planning. Increased income and urbanization have led to increased demand for quality food and the availability of nutritious processed foods. The reality of today’s consumption patterns is that people consume fewer vegetables, fruits, tubers, nuts, and animal protein. Meanwhile, from the supply side, conservation or sustainable agriculture is the principle in strengthening domestic production. This is considering the condition of land availability, agricultural irrigation, and aging of farmers’ age. The pandemic condition has also caused the agricultural sector to experience disruptions in the food supply chain, food distribution system, decreased consumer purchasing power, instability in food prices, and decreased market access to farmers. Considering that consumers are increasingly demanding quality food, it is necessary to transform the food and agricultural system to be in line with consumer demand and climate change. Steps that can be done are ensuring sustainable national food systems, regionalization of food systems, food estates, digital agriculture, and establishing farmer corporations.

At the end of the event, the Head of Agribusiness Master Study Program of Diponegoro University, Siwi Gayatri, S.Pt., M.Sc., Ph.D, also said that this event was a collaboration to increase the understanding of students and community regarding agricultural conditions. From the view of academics and policy actors, it is hoped that participants will be able to understand comprehensively regarding today’s agricultural conditions. In the future, Agribusiness Master Study Program aims to help the general public with insight and understanding in the agricultural sector.

Translated by: Titis (Public Relations)