Indonesia considers allocating USD 69 million for fisheries, aquaculture amid COVID-19 pandemic

Published on
June 3, 2020

Indonesia’s government is considering stimulus package proposal  to support local fishermen, aquaculture farmers, and seafood processors hit by the outbreak of COVID-19.

The package, proposed by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, will be worth IDR 1.02 trillion (USD 69.5 million, EUR 62.6 million) and will be comprised of social aid for fishermen and farmers. The ministry also plans to fund surveillance activities against illegal fishing in Indonesia’s waters, The Jakarta Post reported on 29 May, quoting Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo.

“We will optimize the budget to help enable fishermen to go on fishing while also providing the farmers with seeds, broodfish and infrastructure,” Prabowo said after a cabinet meeting on 28 May with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

Fishermen are expected to be allocated IDR 413.27 billion (USD 28.2 million, EUR 25.4 million), while aquaculture farmers may receive a fund of IDR 406.55 billion (USD 27.7 million, EUR 25 million). Meanwhile, a fund of IDR 36.07 billion (USD 2.5 million, EUR 2.2 million) would be used to assist fish processors and marketeers, and IDR 106.48 billion (USD 7.3 million, EUR 6.5 million) would be allocated to combat poaching.

According to the Office of the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment’s Human Resource Development, Science, and Maritime Culture Deputy Safri Burhanuddin, the government plans to provide IDR 600,000 (USD 41, EUR 36.8) in cash per month for three months for fishermen and others working in the fisheries sector.

Burhanuddin said many other support measures are underway, the results of which will be seen clearer in a few months.

Prabowo said more cold-storage facilities will be needed as demand for seafood may fall due to lockdowns in many of the country's key export markets.

State-owned fishery companies PT Perikanan Nusantara (Perinus) and PT Perikanan Indonesia (Perindo) would likely receive IDR 500 billion (USD 34.1 million, EUR 30.7 million) each from the state budget to buy more seafood products with the aim to increase demand.

Prabowo also called on banks to join the government’s efforts to support aquaculture farmers with loans.

The government, through its various programs, has provided IDR 34 trillion (USD 2.32 billion, EUR 2.1 billion) to subsidize loan interests and relax loan payments for local farmers and fishermen, according to the newspaper.

As many as 3.78 million Indonesian people are expected to be pushed into poverty because of the pandemic, driving the total number people living in poverty in the country to around 30 million. Fishermen, for example, have seen their average income go down to IDR 1.5 million (USD 102, EUR 92) per month, from IDR 3 million to IDR 5 million (USD 204 to USD 341, EUR 184 to EUR 307), Burhanuddin said.

Indonesia had nearly 30,000 cases of the coronavirus as of 1 June, with more than 1,600 deaths, according to The Jakarta Post.

Photo courtesy of CHEN WS/Shutterstock

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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