Ground Army of National Armed Forces To Be Involved with the Rice Field Forming Program, CBA: The military's to Battle, Not For Farming

October 26th, 2021, 18:23

Jakarta, – The Coordinator of the Center for Budget Analysis, Jajang Nurjaman, said that in the end, the Agriculture Ministry's Rice Field Printing Program involving the Indonesian Army, through the military command and its staff, did not work.

Because basically Ground Force soldiers have been prepared to fight and enter the military, not because they want to farm. In addition, the feasibility study is not in-depth and not measurable when starting the rice field printing program.

"Because (farming) is not part of it. Besides that, it seems that there is no such kind of guidance and counseling as provisions for the Indonesian Army who are involved in the Rice Fields Program," said Jajang in Jakarta, Tuesday (26/10).

Jajang assessed that the government in carrying out the food barn program still had many weaknesses. For example, the Strategic Environmental Assessment, which should serve as a basic reference for the formulation of policy plans, in practice only becomes a strengthening tool in land clearing. As happened in Gunung Mas, Central Borneo for cassava, 700 hectares were cleared without an Environmental Impact Analysis.

"In addition to the involvement of the Indonesian Army, which basically does not understand agriculture, this program is becoming increasingly misguided," he said.

Jajang also said that the government seemed unwilling to learn from previous mistakes, for example in the rice field printing program which also involved the military. Because it is not his field, resulting in 17 findings and 21 problems, this resulted in country's loss of billions of IDR.

"Regarding the food barn program, we ask President Joko Widodo to immediately re-evaluate, especially the involvement of the military," he said.

Jajang explained, the government should base the objectives of the food barn program as formulated, namely to overcome the food crisis impacted by Covid-19, climate change, and import dependence. There is a disconnect between the goals and the practice of running the program, so they are misunderstood.

"What is happening right now is by ignoring the Environmental Impact Analysis issue, it actually worsens the prevention of climate change," he explained.

Finally, continued Jajang, the civilians should be fully involved “the professionals and others, especially the farmers. Furthermore, the question of agricultural land that must be done is to help farmers who have problems with the means of production and solve the problem of land inequality, not even expand the land with the military.

In an online discussion with the theme "The Role of the TNI in the Food Estate Project," Wednesday (13/10) yesterday, Imparsial's Director, Gufron Mabruri, reminded the government to reconsider the involvement of the Indonesian Group Army in the food barn or food estate project. He said the government should learn from the rice field printing program several years ago. In the program, the Army is also involved.

However, the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) found various problems in the rice field printing program. “The government should learn from the [printing paddy field] program with the involvement of the military. There are 17 BPK findings that contain 21 problems. The findings are for example the area of ​​rice fields that are not in accordance with the provisions, and there are billions of losses. This should be an evaluation material," said Gufron Mabruri as quoted from

He said, at certain limits the involvement of the military was needed to overcome the escalation of threats. However, military involvement must fulfill a number of things. There are at least six elements, namely emergency situations or objective conditions. However, under normal conditions, civilians should be in full control.

Another element is the request of civil institutions. This is to ensure that the situation is beyond the capacity of civil institutions to handle it. Based on the political decisions of civil authorities, so that there is legitimacy.

“This is a form of civilian control over the military. To ensure accountability to the public. It should be temporary, it cannot be permanent, proportional means that the deployment of the military must be in accordance with the level of threat," he said.

He said, now the question is, what is the urgency and legitimacy of involving the military in the food granary program planned by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) since 2020.

"Indeed, since the beginning, the food barn program has generated a lot of criticism, especially from civil society at the national and regional levels," he said.

He said the criticism came from The Forum for the Indonesian Environment (Walhi) and the Civil Society Coalition. Both parties argue that the food barn project in forest and peatland areas can damage the environment, increase deforestation, increase state losses, have the potential for conflict and marginalize people.

“Every involvement in military assistance must be based on the state's political policy. The policies of the Indonesian Citizen Board of Representatives and the government are formulated through a working meeting of the two parties. The military cannot simply be involved in the context of internal security, safeguarding civilian authorities without a state political decision," he said.

Meanwhile, researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences otherwise known as LIPI, M. Haripin also said that military involvement in various policies is certainly permissible. However, there are various conditions. It's just that so far the government has not carried out a number of conditions.

"Jump straight away, don't go through the stages that have to be done. And the MoU alone is not enough, at least in the form of a presidential regulation," Haripin said.

He said one of the reasons for the military involvement in the food barn program was to help local governments. "However, we reflect again that this policy is truly decentralized and the local government itself is only carrying out orders," he said.

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