RI expected to gain sugar self-sufficiency in 2009

Surabaya (Antara News) - Indonesia will be able to gain self-sufficiency in sugar by 2009 with national sugar production by then projected to reach around 3 million tons, an official said on Friday.

"Indonesia has very great potentials to gain sugar self-sufficiency. But this implies that sugar mills operate with maximum capacity," assistant to the state enterprises minister for agroindustry, forestry, paper, print and publication Agus Pakpahan said at a meeting with representatives of sugar mills from across the country.

The fact that most of the existing sugar mills were built during the Dutch colonial period posed no obstacle to increasing their productivity, he said.

The plan to build more sugar mills could not yet be realized because of limited funds and land for sugarcane plantations, he said.

Indonesia`s sugar production has steadily increased from year to year. In 2006, the country produced 2.3 million tons of sugar.

"To gain self-sufficiency in sugar, we need to increase production by 700,000 tons or equivalent to 60,000 hectares of sugarcane plantation. This means that we need an addition of 20,000 hectares of sugarcane plantation every year," he said.

The area of the country`s sugarcane plantations is projected to reach a total width of 460,000 hectares by 2009 compared to 399,692 hectares at present.(*)
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