Sulaiman noted after the delivery of the Supreme Audit Agency Report that the decision to advance the target was made following recent fluctuations in the prices of the commodity.
"We are learning from the recent fluctuations in the prices of garlic. Earlier, we had planned to become self-sufficient in garlic in 2033. However, we would advance the target; god willing, it would be in 2019 or 2020. We are aiming to advance the target by 13 years," he remarked.
According to the minister, a total of 60 thousand hectares of land will be needed to realize the target.
Currently, some 90 percent of the countrys garlic demand is met through imports annually reaching some 500 thousand tons worth Rp20 trillion.
"If we can have 60 thousand hectares of (garlic plantations), then we can save Rp20 trillion in foreign exchange while boosting the farmers income," he added.
Sulaiman noted that the ministry will maximize the existing land potential, including four million hectares of rain-fed land and 21 million hectares of former swamp areas.
"We can cultivate (garlic) in these four million hectares of land, with three harvests a year. Farmers could earn Rp150 trillion-Rp200 trillion from this. Secondly, we have 21 million hectares of swap areas that we can use for farming along with building a sugar factory. If we can achieve this, then we can become the worlds largest food producers," Sulaiman remarked.
Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics showed that 22,630 tons of garlic was imported from China as of April, while 1,971 tons of the commodity was imported from India during the same period.
Indonesia has recorded self-sufficiency in garlic production in the period between 1990 and 1998.(*)