Students in Padang Disappointed with the Issue of Rice Imports

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Hundreds of students who are members of the Alliance of Northern Sumatra Student Executive Board (BEM SI) in Northern Sumatra held a peaceful action to commemorate National Farmers' Day by making a long march to the West Sumatra Governor's Office. In the action, students burned two straw puppets that were attached to a photo of the face of the Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita and the Director of Bulog Budi Waseso (Buwas).

President of BEM KM Andalas University Faizil Putra explained, the burning of Enggar and Buwas photos was carried out as symbolic actions for disappointment to the government. Students, he continued, felt concerned about the poor coordination at the central government level regarding the rice import policy.

"This action departed from our disappointment with the government that did not have a clear flow of coordination. Our farmers feel betrayed," said Faizil, Monday (9/29).

Students, said Faizil, want the government to focus on efforts to stabilize food supply without involving import policy as the main solution. In a row about the import of rice, Faizil saw that the source of the problem was the lack of good coordination within the government. He asked President Jokowi to be firm in order to bring order to his subordinates, including by removing Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita who was considered too insistent on importing rice.

"This is the source of the problem and we hope that the Minister of Trade will be removed," he said.

In this peaceful action, there were seven points that students delivered to the government. First, it demands the government to limit the amount of imports of rice, meat and other basic ingredients. Second, it demands the government to increase the productivity of agricultural crops, especially rice, corn, soybeans, and staple crops.

The third point, requires the government to expand agricultural land. Fourth, demanding the government to increase the number and improve the quality of agricultural extension workers. Fifth, requires the government to guarantee the stability of the prices of agricultural and livestock products.

The sixth demand, to collect the government's seriousness in managing agriculture and livestock from upstream to downstream. Seventh, demands the consistency of the government in the development of the agricultural world.

The government representative was finally accepted by Deputy Governor of West Sumatra Nasrul Abit. In welcoming student representatives, Nasrul promised to convey all demands to the central government. Nasrul also emphasized that the Provincial Government and Local Government will be actively involved in solving agricultural and livestock problems in the region
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