The inspirational comment by General Douglas MacArthur that “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away,” in 1951 is enough to portray the career of the former General of TNI, Dr. Moeldoko.
After serving as Commander of TNI from August 30, 2013, to July 8, 2015, his spirit of devotion to the nation and the country never faded. Moeldoko, born in Kediri in East Java on July 8, 1957, is now actively involved in the agricultural sector, having been appointed as Chairman of the Indonesian Farmers’ Harmony Association (HKTI) for the 2017-2020 period.
“The issue of agriculture is very strategic,” he tells Indonesia Tatler. “It has broad dimensions concerning the livelihoods of many people in various aspects: political, security defense, social, and so on. I was born to a family of farmers, so I totally understand the issue of agriculture,” Moeldoko adds.
As the new Chairman, Moeldoko takes a long-term view. One of his visions is a plan to increase domestic food production. From the results of research on the development of rice crops, a superior rice seed called M70-D has been discovered.
With this new variant of rice, farmers will only need 70 days from planting to harvesting. This time period is way more rapid than the normal development time, which can take more than 90 days. There is also M-400, so called because in one stalk of rice there can be 400 seeds of rice. One of the advantages of M-400 is that it will not collapse during seasonal weather like heavy rain and storms. Moreover, its resistance to pests is high.
The existence of these two new varieties can increase agricultural yields significantly. These new varieties are targeted to meet 60 per cent of the national rice demand. “In addition to the new varieties of superior rice seeds,” Moeldoko says, “the HKTI has other strategies to improve the quality of Indonesian agriculture. These include the ability to manage organic fertilisers, use skilled workers, implement anti-pest strategies, and use only the latest agricultural technology.”
Moeldoko is also determined that the younger generation can dive into the agricultural sector. Certainly, the industry should be able to offer a better life and more economic benefits for young people. In this case, besides giving information clearly and completely, there is also an intensive development programme for young entrepreneurs in agricultural fields.
This programme trains people to have a strong entrepreneurial mentality and facilitates easier access to support for resolving problems such as capital shortages, superior rice seeds, modern agricultural technology, and more. “We must all be able to become rich farmers; then we can have our own fertiliser factories and advanced agricultural technology,” said Moeldoko, who won the 1986 Adhi Makayasa star. With various strategic steps undertaken in the sector, Moeldoko hopes to create food sovereignty oriented to the welfare of farmers and an adequate national food supply.
“All elements of the nation—the country, the government and society itself—should work together and unite their ideas and determination, and develop concrete steps to create food sovereignty,” Moeldoko says, closing the conversation.