Gov’t Pushes for Improved Domestic Soybean Productivity
The Government continues to take measures to improve domestic soybean productivity by using superior varieties, genetically modified organism (GMO), or imported seeds, according to Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo.
“If necessary, we will use GMOs or imported seeds but still prepare superior domestic varieties,” he said in a press statement after a limited meeting on increasing soybean productivity at the Merdeka Palace, Monday (09/19).
The Minister also expressed hope that domestic soybean productivity could significantly improve through the use of superior varieties, for instance, from 1.5 ton per hectare to 3-4 ton per hectare.
Syahrul went on to say that low soybean yields allegedly triggered farmers to switch to planting corn, adding that they plant corn because the price is similar with soybean but produces higher yield.
Consequently, 90 percent of the national demand was met by imported soybean, he added.
“One hectare can produce 6-7 ton of corn or 1.5 ton of soybean,” he said.
In order to boost farmers’ interest to plant soybean, the Government, he added, will also guarantee the selling price and encourage state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to buy soybean from local farmers.
Ministry of Agriculture is also preparing 351,000 hectares of land to grow soybean where 67,000 hectares have been planted.
In the meantime, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo wanted to ensure that the selling price set the by Government will not bring loss to the farmers.
“The President wants soybean not fully met through import. He made a directive to set the price in a way that will not put farmers at a disadvantage. To realize that, SOEs will be ordered to support production of farmers,” Airlangga said, adding that the Government will prepare a budget of Rp400 billions to expand the areas for planting for soybean to 300,000 hectares this year and 600,000 next year. (FID/DND/UN) (RAS/EP)