We have to be the main sugar producer again and not remain just a market.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir accentuated that the national sugar self-sufficiency program should be implemented regardless of the myriad challenges.

"The road map for the national sugar self-sufficiency program has been prepared. We have to be the main sugar producer again and not remain just a market. Various challenges will always exist, but we have to carry on, Lillahi Ta'ala (for God)," Thohir stated at the virtual launch of the national brand Nusakita here on Tuesday.

The government has planned to build a sugar factory holding -- Sugar Company (SugarCo) -- to realize the self-sufficiency program in accordance with President Joko Widodo’s target to stop imports of the commodity in the coming five to six years.

The state-owned plantation company PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) III (Persero) will be the parent corporation of the factory holding in addition to being the backbone of national sugar production, according to the minister.

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The minister further clarified that he is not against imports or private companies. However, Indonesia’s economy was currently declining due to the pandemic.

Hence, the country is required to boost its exports and lower imports, as otherwise it would become increasingly difficult.

"We expect sugar to be one of the backbone commodities of our exports," he stated.

President Director of PTPN III, Mohammad Abdul Ghani, noted that PTPN-owned sugarcane plantation areas spanned 420 thousand hectares and had targeted to produce two million tons of the commodity by 2025.

Hence, Ghani remarked that PTPN will merge its seven subsidiaries involved in sugarcane plantations and sugar production comprising PTPN II in North Sumatra, PTPN VII in Lampung, PTPN IX in Central Java, PTPN X-XII in East Java, and PTPN XIV in South Sulawesi.

Currently, PTPN is cooperating with various investors and the Indonesia Investment Authority for raising capital to build the factory holding for which Rp20 trillion is required, he stated.

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Translator: Aji Cakti, Uyu Liman
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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