The government through the Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan) provides subsidized fertilizers for farmers to increase agricultural production and support national food security.
The provision of subsidized fertilizers must meet six main principles that have been proclaimed by the ministry, namely, type, quantity, price, place, time, and quality.
What exactly is subsidized fertilizer? Subsidized fertilizers are fertilizers whose procurement and distribution receive subsidies from the government to meet the needs of farmers which are carried out on the basis of government programs.
The Director General of Infrastructure and Facilities (PSP) of the Ministry of Agriculture Sarwo Edhy said the distribution of subsidized fertilizer has been regulated in the Decree of the Minister of Trade and Industry No. 70/MPP/Kep/2/2003 on February 11, 2003, concerning the Procurement and Distribution of Subsidized Fertilizers for the Agricultural Sector.
“In Article 1 of the regulation, it is explained that subsidized fertilizers for procurement and distribution receive subsidies from the government for the needs of farmers, which are carried out on the basis of government programs,” said Sarwo Edhy.
Meanwhile, Article 3 mentions types of subsidized fertilizers provided, namely Urea, SP-36, ZA, and NPK with a composition of N:P:K = 15:15:15 and 20:10:10. All fertilizers must meet the quality standards of the Indonesian National Standard (SNI).
Subsidized Fertilizer Recipients
Sarwo Edhy revealed there are several requirements that any farmers must meet to get subsidized fertilizers. One of the requirements is that farmers must first join farmer groups in their villages and regions. “The goal is that subsidized fertilizers can be distributed properly and on target,” he explained.
Those requirements are in accordance with the Minister of Agriculture Regulation No. 47 of 2017 concerning the Allocation and Highest Retail Price of Subsidized Fertilizers. It also regulates fertilizer producers.
For information, fertilizer producers are obliged to keep stocks to meet the needs for the following two weeks. It aims to prevent shortages when there is a surge in demand during the growing season.
In addition to the requirements, to get subsidized fertilizers, farmers are required to have farmer cards that are integrated in the Definitive Plan for Group Needs (RDKK). The cards contain quotas according to the needs of farmers. The amount of quotas depends on the area of land owned by each farmer. “However, farmer cards cannot be cashed in and can only be used for exchanging fertilizers,” he added.
In the meantime, Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo said that the allocation of subsidized fertilizers in 2021 has been increased to 9 million tons plus 1.5 million liters of liquid organic fertilizers, from only 8.9 million tons in 2020.
“Hopefully there will be more farmers who can get subsidized fertilizers. Farmers who are entitled to subsidized fertilizers should have been registered in the e-RDKK according to the application received by the Ministry of Agriculture from the local government’s proposal,” said Syahrul Yasin Limpo in Jakarta, Thursday (7/1/2021).
In accordance with the Minister of Agriculture Regulation (Permentan) No. 49 of 2020, subsidized fertilizers are intended for farmers who have joined farmer groups that are compiling the Electronic Definitive Plan for Group Needs (e-RDKK). Therefore, Syahrul instructed his staff to tidy up the line movement of fertilizer subsidy downstream.
“In 2021, we are really monitoring line three and four especially or from distributors to agents, in sub-districts and villages. If it runs well, the availability of subsidized fertilizers is fulfilled,” he explained.
Director of Fertilizers and Pesticides of the Ministry of Agriculture Muhammad Hatta emphasized that the allocation of subsidized fertilizers in 2021 is 9 million tons. The distribution is carried out through the e-RDKK system, so that the subsidy recipients are truly on target. Thus, related to the government’s commitment, there is no shortage of fertilizers.
“The allocation of subsidy recipients is indeed limited and there are requirements. But the quota is limited and there are requirements that must be fulfilled. If there is a feeling of shortage, it is possible that the farmer is not registered in the e-RDKK or the subsidized fertilizer allotment has already run out,” he said.
The arrangement of the e-RDKK is sourced from farmer groups and passes a number of verification phases before being determined as subsidized fertilizer recipient data. Therefore, he asked farmers to ensure that they are members of farmer groups and registered in the e-RDKK to receive subsidized fertilizers.
“If in the practice we find a stall that tries to make the farmers difficult to redeem, we will not hesitate to revoke the permit,” said Hatta.
Subsidized Fertilizer Quota Per Hectare
In the current Farmer Card system, the government only allocates an average of 10 kg per 0.1 hectare or 100 kg per 1 hectare of subsidized fertilizers. This allocation is far below the farmers’ needs.
In fact, farmers need two times of fertilization during one growing season. The first fertilization is done after the completion of the planting period, while the second one is done when the rice plant will release rice panicles.
For one fertilization, farmers who have 0.1 hectares of land need about 20 kg of urea and 5 kg of SP-36 fertilizer. When using complete fertilizer, farmers need 7.5 kg of urea, 10 kg of SP-36 and 5 kg of KCL fertilizer. However, considering that KCL fertilizer does not receive subsidies from the government, most farmers choose to use only two types of fertilizers that receive subsidies, namely urea and SP-36.
With the current limited quota of subsidized fertilizers, farmers inevitably have to spend more production costs to manage their paddy fields. Not only during the first fertilization, but even more during the second fertilization. So we’ll just have to wait and see how the development of the agricultural sector will continue.
One of the producers of subsidized fertilizer is Pupuk Kaltim. Pupuk Kaltim is responsible for the procurement and distribution of subsidized fertilizers in eight regions, namely East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, North Sulawesi, Gorontalo, Central Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, South Sulawesi and West Sulawesi. As of April 7, 2021, Pupuk Kaltim has distributed 306,038 tons of subsidized fertilizers (Urea and NPK).
Previously in January, President Joko Widodo had highlighted the problems in subsidized fertilizers. Jokowi assessed that the funds spent on subsidized fertilizers were not in accordance with the resulting production. In 2019, the budget allocation for fertilizer subsidies was Rp34.3 trillion. However, in 2020, the allocation decreased to Rp29.7 trillion. And in 2021, the fertilizer subsidy budget allocation has further decreased to Rp25.27 trillion.
Writtem by: Renat Sofie