Mon, 23 Jun 2008
Soybean production in Indonesia may increase 63% next year, more than previously expected, as planting increases, Bloomberg reported.

The harvest may rise to 1.5 million metric tons, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono, said. That compares with his January 21 estimate for production to reach 1.2 million tons from 920,000 tons this year.

Indonesians consume about 2 million tons of soybeans annually. Tempe and tofu, derived from soybeans and eaten mainly with rice, are key sources of protein for the country's 235 million people.

Apriyantono maintained a forecast for rice output of 64 million tons next year compared with 61 million tons this year.

Corn production may climb to 18 million tons in 2009, also unchanged from the previous estimate, he said.

"The increase in production will be achieved through distribution of free seeds, subsidized fertilizers and area expansion," Apriyantono said at a parliamentary hearing.

The government plans to allocate Rp10.74 trillion ($1.16 billion) next year for subsidies to lower fertilizer prices, and Rp904 billion in seed subsidies, Apriyantono said. He didn't give this year's figures.

Increased output may reduce the Southeast Asian country's imports of soybean to 500,000 tons next year, Sutarto Alimoeso, Director General for Food Crops at the Agriculture Ministry, said.

Output may be enough to meet consumption in 2011, he said. The country imported 1.3 million tons of soybeans last year to supplement output of about 600,000 tons.



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