By UCA News
By Silvester Sega
The executive director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment in East Nusa Tenggara warned yesterday that 1.6 million people in the region face a severe threat of famine.
Heribertus Naif said the government has not done enough to alleviate ecological disasters and bolster the agricultural sector and improve livelihoods in the region, known as the “province of corn.”
“This is a failure on the part of the government in not developing peoples’ resources such as agriculture, husbandry, tourism and fisheries,” he said.
Naif said such neglect constituted a violation of human rights.
“The state has failed to respect, protect and fulfill the people’s right to food,” he said, adding that the government has more broadly failed to preserve the fragile ecology of [the country’s] small islands.”
Kanis Kusi, head of Kupang archdiocese’s Commission for Socio-Economic Development, today attributed famine and food shortages to a failure to correctly monitor planting.
He said the government should distribute seeds as well as rice to those facing famine and food shortages.
Kusi said the commission has called on farmers to be more active in planting corn and other crops to diversify agricultural output.