The government has set a target of earmarking a total of 30 million hectares of land in the country as permanent farmland, which cannot be converted for other purposes, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said.
"To date, Indonesia only has about 7.4 million hectares of farmland. We hope we can have a total of 30 million hectares of permanent farmland in the future," he said on Monday (3/9/07), according to Antara.
Half of the 30 million hectares would be used as irrigated paddy fields and the other half as dry paddy fields, he said.
The minister said the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) are still formulating a bill on the classification of permanent farmland.
The proposed law would hopefully reduce the increasing conversion of farmland for other purposes due to rapid population growth and economic development.
"Around 150,000 hectares of farmland are being turned into estates for non-agricultural purpose every year," he said.