Indonesia has opportunity to export rice to Malaysia: Minister

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman said the opportunity is open for Indonesia to export rice to Malaysia especially regions closer to Malaysia such as Central Kalimantan.

The minister, who was on a visit to Central Kalimantan on Friday said Malaysia imports around 1.2 million tons of rice every year.

"Indonesia should grab the market opportunity," he said when attending the symbolic planting of hybrid rice seeds over a 250 hectares of rice fields in the village of Terusan Karya, regency of Kapuas in the province.

Attending the symbolic planting of the hybrid rice seed variety include Central Kalimantan Governor Sugianto Sabra, lawmaker Hamdani of the Commission IV of the Haouse of Representatives, Kapuas Regent Ben Brahim, Special staff of the Army Chief of Staff Brig.Gen. M. Afifuddin, and chief of staff of the regional military command of Tanjung Pura, Brig.Gen.Ahmad Sukryadi.

The minister encouraged the local farmers to continue to contribute to the national food security program by increasing production of rice, corn and chili.

"We want Central Kalimantan self sufficient in food as the province has more than sufficient land for farming," he said.

Central Kalimantan is even expected to have surplus to be exported such as to Malaysia, he added.

The agriculture ministry allocate Rp380 billion for agricultural development in Central Kalimantan for 2016 , up from Rp200 billion in 2015.

Central Kalimantan Governor Sugianto Sabran said the province has a surplus of 196,500 tons of unmilled rice in 2016.

"We support the government program for food self sufficiency. With advanced farming we could control the world," he said.

Lawmaker Hamdani said the Commission IV of the House of Representatives supports the government decision to stop rice imports.(*)