Sun, 24 Oct 2010

TEMPO Interactive, Garut: Japan Invests in Cassava Cultivation
Garut– A Japanese company, Nihon Yakuzen Food, through PT Java Energy will invest Rp 742,1 billion in cassava cultivation. Wahyudijaya, the Garut Investment Office chief, said the project that will be carried out on a 15.000-hectare land in Garut, West Java, is scheduled to begin next year.

For the cultivation of cassava plants and production of cassava chips, a kind of toxic but superior cassava is required. With a 9 to 10 month planting period, the harvest is expected to be 60 to 120 tons per hectare. The cost to plant on the area in Cibalong is around Rp375 billion.

To process the product, businessmen plan to build a factory on a 10-hectare area around the agricultural area. Three factories will be built with investment worth Rp55 billion to yield an annual production capacity of 450.000 tons. “The product will be exported to Japan to produce 25 to 69 million tons of cassava chips per year,” Wahyu said yesterday.

The company’s investment is expected to boost Garut’s revenues and its economy, as well as to cut down unemployment rate. After the issuance of the investment license, construction can begin and is expected to be completed within one year.

Wawan Kurnia, the Garut Regional House of Representatives’ (DPRD) B Commission member, welcomed the plan. He hoped the project is supported by the government. “If possible, people should be hired to plant the cassava and businessmen to buy the products. In that way, farmers’ living standard can improve,” he said.

If the plan to invest in cassava cultivation is achieved, the regional government can be a little relieved because the auction on Mount Papandayan’s geothermal project that can potentially produce 160 megawatt of electricity, has been canceled.

Widiyana, the Garut Water and Mining Resources Office chief, said the auction was canceled because Mount Papandayan was not in the list of the second phase of the 10.000 megawatt electricity acceleration project. Moreover, the regulation on the mining operation had not been issued by the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry. “Yet, we submitted the request a long time ago,” he said on Monday.

As such, Widi said, the regional government will urge the Energy Ministry to issue the mining business license. Another research on Mount Papandayan must be carried out soon so that the auction can take place immediately. “We hope Papandayan will be operational by 2014.

Prospects to generate geothermal energy in Garut Regency has been offered by Garut Regent Aceng H.M. Fikri to 100 European investors, like in the Hague, a while ago. The offer was made during the 2009 West Java Expo in Banding. The Papandayan investment project was offered at US$10 million.