Central Sumba food estate coverage to reach 10,000 hectares: Jokowi

Central Sumba food estate coverage to reach 10,000 hectares: Jokowi

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - A food estate project in Central Sumba District, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), will be expanded to reach 10 thousand hectares, comprising 5,600 hectares for rice and 4,400 hectares for corn, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) stated.

The coverage area of the food estate will be increased, from five thousand hectares constituting three thousand hectares of rice and two thousand hectares of corn.

"Why is it to be implemented in NTT, especially in Central Sumba District? We have to speak the reality, Mr district head and Mr governor. It is because my data shows that 34 percent of the population lives poverty here," the head of state noted during his review of the food estate development project in Central Sumba on Tuesday. The visit was broadcast live by the Presidential Secretariat office.

The food estate in Central Sumba is projected to enable rice harvesting biannually and corn and soybean harvesting once year.

Currently, local farmers harvest rice once a year only. NTT is an arid province that recurrently bears the brunt of water shortages.

To overcome the problem of water shortages, the government has built numerous ground wells since 2018 and also large reservoirs. However, they were unable to supply adequate water to meet the requirements of local inhabitants. Hence, the NTT authorities have requested the government to build more dams and reservoirs.

"I have ordered the minister of PUPR (Public Works and Public Housing) to explore the possibility of building more reservoirs or dams as well as drilling wells. The Ministry of Agriculture must help provide agricultural equipment, particularly tractors, which are urgently required," Jokowi emphasized.

The head of state inspected the food estate project in Central Sumba as part of his day-long working visit to the province on Tuesday.

Jokowi stressed on the significance of developing the food estate in East Nusa Tenggara on grounds of its poverty rate and harvest time.

The central government is currently developing food estates in North Sumatra Province, Central Kalimantan Province, and East Nusa Tenggara Province, in a bid to achieve nationwide self-reliance in food. Related news: Two provinces' food estate development should be completed in 2021
Related news: Food estates will not encroach protected zones: minister