Mon, 31 Oct 1994

Realtors cannot use fertile land: Soeharto

JAKARTA (JP): In an effort to maintain self-sufficiency in food, President Soeharto said on Saturday that the government will not allow industrial estate owners and realtors to build on fertile land.

"Certainly they [the developers] need land, but now they will no longer be allowed to use land located close to urban centers. This is part of our effort to prevent them from using technically irrigated land for industrial establishments," the President said from his ranch in Tapos, Bogor, to a group of 136 United Nations officials posted in Jakarta.

They represented among others World Bank, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Children's Fund (Unicef) Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO).

Accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas, Soeharto said these moves are very important if the country is to maintain self-sufficiency in rice.

"Another way to maintain rice self-sufficiency would be the diversification of food for the people. This way they will no longer rely on rice as their staple food," the Antara news agency quoted the President on the occasion of the 49th anniversary of the United Nations.

Answering a question on what concrete steps Indonesia had taken in the implementation of the plan for Technical Cooperation between Developing Countries (TCDC), Soeharto said Indonesia has offered an opportunity for foreign farmers to learn about agriculture in this country.

Citing an example, the President said farmers from Gambia and Tanzania are currently in Indonesia to study the process of land cultivation. Indonesia's cooperation with fellow developing countries has received warm support from the industrialized countries and also some financial assistance due to the limited financial resources of Indonesia and the other developing countries.

"This constitutes a manifestation of South-South and South- North cooperation," Soeharto pointed out. (bas)