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Newsletter November 2021 | G20, A Golden Opportunity for Indonesia to Reform its Agriculture Sector

Dear Readers,

As Indonesia assumes the 2022 presidency of the G20, an organization that represents not only about two-thirds of the world’s population but also around 85 percent of the world’s economy and 70 percent of the global agricultural economy, hopes are high that the country will finally see serious improvements in its agriculture and food sectors. We have all heard how Indonesia plans to stress the G20’s responsibility as a crisis responder, with a stronger commitment to inclusiveness and sustainability as its added value. It plans to address priorities that it deems are keys to attaining what is expressed in the theme of its presidency, “Recover, Together, Recover Stronger.”

Indonesia will also chair the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting next year, one of the ministerial meetings organized as part of the G20 Leaders’ Summit 2021. It provides an important opportunity to discuss and further develop agricultural issues of international relevance, thus building consensus around specific shared deliverables.

At their last meeting in September, the G20 agriculture ministers agreed that their respective countries must redouble efforts to build sustainable and resilient food systems, including by boosting productivity in agriculture in light of the challenges of climate change.

We at CIPS have always recommended that creating a more open agriculture market can attract constructive investments in research and bring in new innovations. At the same time, more open markets give us the opportunity to utilize existing agricultural practices and technology to create more environmentally sustainable and resilient food systems.

In addition to this, we also should not ignore the merits of establishing transparent, open, and non-discriminatory trade policies for food and agricultural products. It is just as critical that everyday Indonesians and small agribusinesses can benefit from the ability to get their hands on global supplies. This would also help enhance food security for the country.

The G20 presidency, as well as the chairmanship of the G20 Agriculture Ministerial Meeting next year both present Indonesia with the opportunity to not only review but also readjust its policies in agriculture and the food sector, including import policies.

It is important to note Indonesia’s Agriculture Minister, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, has cited as among Indonesia’s priorities in its G20 presidency, the push for sustainable agriculture and also addressing the impacts of climate change.

He has also urged G20 member countries play an important role in building a conducive global environment to encourage investment in the agriculture sector, and ensure fair and smooth trade in food and agricultural products.

Although blessed with abundant natural resources and an agriculture-friendly climate, Indonesia must learn to better manage its food and agriculture sector, balancing productivity, production, and international trade to build a solid food resiliency.

Still related to the G20 is the T20 Summit of think tanks that will be held in parallel. We at CIPS will be co-hosting the T20 task force on food security and sustainable agriculture that works in coordination with the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture. We certainly hope that we will be able to influence the discourse in this task force.

We also hope the G20 presidency will lead to a better recognition at home that increasing protectionism and self-sufficiency in everything in this increasingly interconnected world is not the answer.

We will certainly continue our efforts to convince both the public and the government about this, something that we would not be able to do without your valuable and unflinching support, for which we remain eternally grateful.

Salam Hangat,

Rainer Heufers

Executive Director

Center for Indonesian Policy Studies

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