Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, made the remarks after attending an internal meeting on increasing sorghum production and the wheat policy at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, on Thursday.
"President Jokowi had asked us to prioritize the development of sorghum land in Waingapu, NTT. In 2023, we will prepare 115 thousand hectares of land and 154 thousand hectares in 2024," Hartarto informed.
As of June 2022, the area under sorghum plantation had only reached 4,355 hectares, spread across 6 provinces, with productivity pegged at 3.63 tons per hectare, he said.
Meanwhile, there are still nine countries that have banned wheat exports to meet domestic needs, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Afghanistan, Algeria, Kosovo, Serbia, and Ukraine.
Therefore, President Widodo has asked for the substitution and diversification of wheat as an ingredient in food and animal feed with sorghum, Hartarto said.
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The minister informed that the development of sorghum in the early stages has been carried out on 100 thousand hectares during the 2022 planting season. Efforts to increase sorghum production will be prioritized by developing 115 thousand hectares of land in 2023 and 154 thousand hectares in 2024.
The selling price of sorghum has currently reached Rp 3,500 per kilogram. With productivity of up to 4 tons per hectare, farmers can earn an income of Rp12.5 million, minus production costs of Rp8.4 million.
"If farmers dried the seed and are able to generate 9.2 million tons per hectare, the price could reach Rp15 thousand, and it would bring a profit of Rp8 million per harvest season," Hartarto said.
The sorghum land will be developed as a unified ecosystem with cattle farming considering that sorghum stems can be used as animal feed, he added.
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