Wed, 11 Feb 2009
From: The Jakarta Globe
By Arti Ekawati
The Ministry of Agriculture has had to push back its target of reaching national soybean self-sufficiency three years ­ - from 2011 to 2014 - because low yields and fluctuating prices for the crop have continued to hamper local production.

Indonesia’s tofu and tempeh industries consume at least 2 million tons of soybeans annually, but in 2008 domestic farmers were only able to produce 760,000 tons.

“For 2014, we have set a production target of 2.2 million tons of soybeans,” Sutarto Alimoeso, the ministry’s director general for crop estates, said in an interview on Monday, adding that the government’s 2009 production target would be 1.5 million tons.

At present, Sutarto said, relatively low per hectare yields and high price volatility made it difficult for the country to achieve self-sufficiency.

To address these problems, the government plans to improve the quality of soy seeds and open up more land for soy farming.

Nationwide, soy yields currently average only about 1.3 tons per hectare, but Sutarto said reaching the self-sufficiency target would require a minimum yield of two tons per hectare.

Rizal Syarif, chairman of the Indonesian Tempeh Forum, or FTI, said that farmers were not eager to plant soy because of its historically low or highly changeable prices.

“Previously, the price of domestic soybeans was always below Rp 5,500 [47 cents] a kilogram, which is a fair price for soy,” Rizal said.

Further, Indonesian farmers often only plant soy as a secondary crop, meaning it is planted either along with rice or between the rice harvest and the next planting season. This approach, in turn, creates an unpredictable harvest schedule for soybeans, which is unappealing for industrial processors and leads them to import soy instead.

Rizal urged the government to better manage soybean trading to make sure soybean farmers are able to link up with buyers at harvest time.

“That could be done by having the State Logistics Agency [or Bulog] buy farmers’ soybeans, or by some other way,” he said.

The ministry’s Sutarto said the government would review the farmers’ concerns regarding soy pricing.


Wed, 11 Feb 2009
From: JakChat
Comment by Marmalade
Indonesia Needs New Soy Arrows



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