Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government will not issue licenses to develop food estates in Merauke, Papau, to investors who will only sell the permits to others, Agriculture Minister Suswono said here on Thursday.
"The licenses will only be given to serious investors," he said on the sidelines of a ministry meeting.
He said investors who had applied for such licenses were now still candidates so the opportunity to obtain a license was still open to other investors.
Suswono said the government was allowing the opening of food estates in Merauke to create employment opportunities for the local people and encourage transmigration (people from other regions resettling) in sparsely populated Merauke.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi meanwhile said the first products of food estates in Merauke were expected to be available in 2012.
"It takes one to 1.5 years for crops to produce," he said.
Although the farming activity in Merauke would be conducted in very mechanized ways or using high technology, it would still take time for the crops to start producing, he said.
He said one of the regulations for investing in a food estate in the region would affect the export of the commodities produced which would be adjusted to domestic food trading policy.
Citing an example he said if the government decided only to allow export of certain rice varieties, the investors were requested to follow it.
On the other hand, the government was obliged to give an incentive to investors in the form of fiscal and non-fiscal facilities, he said.
He said the government would also provide the option of infrastructure development. "It is possible for a private party to carry out the development and it will be given a facility in line with the availability of government funds," he said.
He said the government gave the alternative because of its limited funds for developing infrastructure such as roads, ports and power plants in Merauke.(*)