Govt to revitalize two million hectares of land for plantations

Samarinda (Antara News) - The government has set a target in plantation by means of revitalizing two million hectares of land in 20 provinces of Indonesia for this sector as a way to increase production of such commodities as oil palm fruit, rubber and cocoa.

"This program should be properly implemented, so that it may bring about greater benefit to the welfare of the farmers," Vice President M Jusuf Kalla here on Friday.

Furthermore, even if the development of plantations is still constrained by many problems, it did not mean that this sector could not be properly managed, he said.

However, the capacity of natural resources such as oil, gas and coal has been declining, so that the diversification of plantation-based energy is badly required.

"Therefore, the best way to that end is by improving products of sustainable, renewable natural resources regarded as a source of life for the people," Kalla said.

Even constrained by many problems, the revitalization of plantations should continue, he said, adding that the two million hectares of land to be revitalized would be located in 20 provinces, mostly in Sumatra and Kalimantan for rubber and palm oil trees and eastern provinces of Indonesia for cocoa.

Estimated to cost Rp25 trillion, the program will be implemented with the support of five national banks such as Bank Mandiri, BRI, Bank Bukopin, West Sumatra Development Bank and North Sumatra development bank.

In the meantime, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriantono said in the past five years, crude palm oil continued to record an annual rise of about 12.1 percent.

It was also reported that with 4.1 million hectares of palm tree plantations in 2000, Indonesia could export 8.5 million tons of crude palm oil worth US$ 13 million.

With 5.5 milion hectares of land in 2005, the volume of crude palm oil exported rose to 11.5 million tons worth US$4,400 million.

To some extent, a big volume of crude palm oil produced has placed Indonesia as the second biggest crude palm oil producing country in the world after Malaysia.

Its wide palm oil lantation area had actually enabled Indonesia to absorb 2.8 million of its work force. But, at present the development of this sector is still confronted with constraints because of poor management, so maximum production of crude palm oil could be properly achieved.

Beside setting plantation revitalization program, the vice president also dedicated seven other development projects in East Kalimantan. (*)
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