Wed, 09 Feb 2011

With poor weather conditions affecting harvests, local soybean production this year is anticipated to fall short of the government target.

Earlier, the government said it expected to produce up to 960,000 tons of soybeans in 2011, but this target would be “hard” to meet, Deputy Agriculture Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The planting period, between August and October, is expected to have been too wet for healthy crops.

“We're worried that because the climate has been so wet, soybean farmers, who are concentrated in Aceh and East Java, will shift from planting soybean to planting rice,” Bayu said after attending a coordination meeting at the Office of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy.

Indonesia will likely face a shortage of soybeans this year, with domestic consumption currently standing at 1.5 millions tons a year.

Bayu said the government had earlier planned to import between 600,000 and 700,000 tons of soybeans to meet demand, but would not likely be able to increase this figure to offset shortages in domestic production.

“It is not easy to import [soybeans] because prices are continually increasing and there's a considerable likelihood of supply difficulties.”