To achieve the target, sugar production must reach 3 million tons in 2019, Director of Seasonal Plants and Spices of the Directorate General of Plantations at the Agriculture Ministry, Agus Wahyudi, said in a discussion here on Thursday.
"Our sugar production currently stands at 2.5 million tons. We still see a deficit of 0.5 million tons," he stated.
As rains still fall on production centers, such as East Java, sugar production will slightly drop this year, he predicted.
"Our friends prognoses put production at less than 2.5 million tons. But we hope (this year) will be better than the previous year. If cloud continues, it is rather difficult to increase production this year," he noted.
To achieve self-reliance in sugar production, he said the government is also trying to expand the area of sugarcane plantations to cover 500 thousand hectares. As such, the productivity of sugarcane plantation will reach 6 tons per hectare in 2019, he remarked.
"At present, our sugarcane plantations cover an area of 450 thousand hectares. Hence, we still need 50 thousand hectares more. To achieve sugar production of 3 million tons, the productivity of sugarcane plantation must be raised to at least 6 tons per hectare from the current 5.5 tons per hectare," he revealed.
The target of sugar production is realistic as the productivity of sugarcane plantation in the country once reached 6 tons per hectare in 2008, he underlined.
"It is not impossible to increase the productivity of sugarcane plantation to 6 tons per hectares in three years time. The productivity of sugarcane plantation once reached 6.1 tons per hectare in 2008 and 6 tons per hectare in 2012," he pointed out.(*)