Wed, 23 Jan 2008
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government needed to make every effort for an earlier achievement of self-sufficiency in soyabean originally planned in 2015 to 2011 with the domestic production of two million tons of the commodity, a minister has said.

Now is the right time to boost soyabean production, as the price of the commodity is favorable, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said here Tuesday.

"In view of the current favorable price of the commodity, target to reach self-sufficiency in the produce will be reached earlier namely in 2011 from the original schedule in 2015," Anton said on the sidelines of a hearing between the House of Representatives (DPR)`s Commission VI and the minister as well as other relevant ministers.

The other ministers attending the hearing were the Trade Minister, the Industry Minister and the State Minister for Cooperatives and Small- and Medium-scale Enterprises.

Also present on the occasion were the President Director of the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) and the President Director of state agriculture company PT Pertani.

Anton said that in reaching the projected two million tons of soyabean production in 2011, his ministry has expanded the soyabean cultivation land to 1.2 million hectares, which will raise production from 1.3 tons to 2 tons per hectare.

Data available at the Agriculture Ministry showed the national soyabean production in 1992 reached 1.8 million tons but the condition did not last long and the production continued to drop with each passing year.

In 2000, soybean production reached 1.01 million tons from harvesting 824,484,000 hectares but four years later the production dropped to 723,483 tons from 565,155 hectares, and in 2004 production reached 1.2 tons per hectare.

The Central Bureau of Statistics said the national soyabean production in 2007 dropped to 608,263 tons as the harvesting areas had reduced to 464,427 hectares despite increase in the crops to 1.3 tons per hectare.

If Indonesia`s soybean consumption reached 1.8 million to two million tons per year, the country would have to import 1.2 million tons of the commodity each year.

The minister said the drop in soyabean production in the country was because the cultivation of the commodity was not economically beneficial as the price of the produce was low causing the growers to become reluctant in cultivating the subtropical crop.

Meanwhile, he said, the imported soybean with government subsidy was sold at a lower price and this had weakened the competitiveness of the farmers` output.

"Thus, the government will guarantee the stable price of soyabean between Rp5500 and Rp6000 per kilogram to encourage the farmers to resume the planting of soyabean," he said.

In addition, he said, the government would create a partnership program between Bulog and the farmers to guarantee a market for their products.

At the upstream level, the government would involve state companies including PT Sang Hyang Sri and PT Pertani which were expected to provide superior seeds, and state fertilizer companies PT Pusri, PT Kujang, PT Petrokimia Gresik and PT Iskandar Muda which would provide the fertilizers to boost production.

With the accelerated program on self-sufficiency in soyabean, Indonesia`s soyabean imports in 2011 may reach only 241,594 tons or 9.8 percent of the need for 2.46 million tons if the domestic production of 2.22 million tons was met.(*)



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