"That is our wish. We will awaken the sleeping giant in Indonesia. We will cultivate four million hectares of rain-fed lands," Amran said during his visit to Sembalun sub district of East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, on Wednesday.
In addition to food crops, the land would be planted with other commodities such as sugar to reduce Indonesias dependency on imports, he stated.
Amran noted that the government would encourage villages, which have received Rp750 million to Rp1.2 billion of village fund, to build water reservoirs in a bid to explore the potential of the rain-fed lands.
"We will be straightforward on this. We will provide zero budget for district leaders who have failed to increase agricultural production," he stressed.
The development of water reservoirs in villages is expected to increase planting frequency in the idle lands to three planting seasons per year.
"If we can do it in four million hectares of idle lands, we can get Rp200 to Rp300 trillion of income," he remarked, adding that it would also save the countrys foreign exchange reserve.
The capabilities of villages to increase agricultural production would strengthen the countrys food security and stabilize food prices, the minister pointed out.(*)