Economists: Agriculture Sector Worrying

Wednesday, 21 June, 2006 | 17:45 WIB

Tempo Interactive, Manado: The productivity of the Indonesian agriculture sector has declined.

Etty Puji Lestari, a member of the Association of Indonesian Economic Graduates (ISEI), has revealed that between 2001 and 2003, a total of 610,596 hectares of productive paddy-fields were turned into housing or used for other activities.

There has been an increase in the number of farmers from 20.8 million in 1993 to 25.4 million in 2002, despite the declining total of paddy-fields.

There has also been a dramatic decrease in average amount of land owned by farmers down to less than a quarter of a hectare per farmer.

This situation is further worsened by the decrease in farmers' incomes.

They only obtain an income per harvest season of between Rp325,000 and Rp543,000.

“This means that they only obtain an income of between Rp81,000 and Rp135,000 per month,” said Etty during the ISEI seminar at Manado yesterday.

Agus Supritanto
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