Jakarta (ANTARA) - The spike in imported soybean prices should serve as a momentum for Indonesian farmers to grow soybean and increase domestic production, Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) researcher Aditya Alta said here on Friday.

"There have been some media reports on farmers in Central Java who were moved to plant more soybeans because of the potential of getting a proper margin," he explained.

According to Alta, normally, farmers tend to forego domestic soybean planting because they are unable to compete with the price of imported soybeans.

Therefore, a strategic market mechanism for increasing domestic soybean supply would help keep soybean prices from inflating, he said.

However, locally grown soybeans account for just 10 percent of Indonesia's soybean supply, so self-sufficiency in soybean production is still a far goal, he added.

"Low productivity of domestic soybeans is something that has not been resolved in addition to limitations of land and weather to support the growth of soybeans," he explained.

Further, imported soybeans are also not always a perfect substitute for local soybeans, he said. Due to the differences between the two, producers prefer local soybeans for tofu production, he highlighted.

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Meanwhile, House Member Johan Rosihan asked the Ministry of Agriculture to create a special policy for soybeans to increase production and budgetary support.

"We had even achieved self-sufficiency in soybeans in 1992, with production reaching 1.8 million tons. Hence, the spirit of self-sufficiency must continue to be strengthened because the national need for soybean is increasing every year," he said.

The Ministry of Agriculture, on its part, is aiming to boost soybean production to one million tons in 2022 so that Indonesia no longer depends on imports.

Director of legumes and tubers at the ministry, Yuris Tiyanto, said that the production target will be realized by planting soybeans on 650 thousand hectares of land in 14 Indonesian provinces.

"The strategy is we have provided assistance to farmers covering an area of 52 thousand hectares through state budget's funding to plant soybeans," Tiyanto informed on Tuesday (February 22).

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Translator: M Rahman, Kenzu T
Editor: Suharto
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