Veep supports conversion of rice fields for industrial plants

Jakarta (Antara News) - Vice President Jusuf Kalla expressed support to conversion of rice fields for development of factories that cound give more employment.

Speaking at the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of national logistics agency Bulog here on Thursday he said around 100,000 hectares out of seven million hectares of rice fields in the country changed into residential areas, factories or roads every year.

"That is allright because a hectare of rice field maximally can only provide employment for four people while a hectare used for a factory can provide employment to 200 people. So it is alright for us to convert them. More people could even be unemployed if we did not do it," he said.

Seen attending the event were former Bulog chiefs such as Bustanil Arifin, Rahardi Ramelan and Bedu Amang.

Kalla said to replace the rice fields that had changed into other functions diversification and extensification had to be done.

He said however for the purpose of extensification irrigation infrastructures would be needed.

He said the most important thing to do now was increasing farm productivity in the next five to seven years so that the need for 34 million tons of rice a year could be met.

"That is the task of all of us, the government and experts. It is not a difficult job. Other countries have done it," he said.
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