Mon, 08 Mar 1999

BI to assist farmers

JAKARTA (JP): Bank Indonesia, the central bank, will provide Rp 250 billion (about US$29 million) in soft loans for the purchase of farming machinery and equipment, Minister of Agriculture Soleh Solahuddin has said.

Soleh said the funds would be given to farmers in several main rice producing areas to buy thrashers and dryers, to boost the quality and production rate of rice produced by farmers.

"With more thrashers and dryers, farmers will be able to mill and dry their rice properly so it can meet the standards set by Bulog (the State Logistics Agency). I hope the loans can be disbursed later this month," he said in a media briefing.

He said farmers receive lower payments for their rice because the rice was sold before it is dried and trashed properly, due to the scarcity of appropriate equipment.

He added that a thrasher was priced at Rp 15 million per unit, while a dryer sold for Rp 23 million per unit, prices well out of reach of the majority of farmers. (gis)