Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo has issued directives for the maximum development of food estates in some areas as a means to increase agricultural productivity, Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo said on Tuesday.

"Our land reserves in Kalimantan, in North Sumatra, in Papua, in Maluku must be part of our strategy and for those areas, the President has given directives (for developing) food estate more optimally," he informed at the Presidential Palace Complex here.

The government is developing food estates in several regions, including Central Kalimantan, North Sumatra, East Nusa Tenggara, Papua, and Maluku.

The minister said that the progress is still going well. He cited the example of Central Kalimantan, saying food estates in the province could increase crop production almost twofold.

“I am responsible for this food estate, which is quite good. Previously, our existing land yielded under 3 tons, now in Kalimantan, it is 4–5 tons. The land in Kalimantan is peat, brackish, slightly salty, the pH is very low. It is the same with land in Java, once the intervention is done, then it is done, it requires a process," he added.

He said that not all land in that area showed an improvement in terms of harvest. There were also areas in the barn that failed in increasing productivity. However, the number of failed lands was very small compared to the ones that were much more productive.

“There are some lands that are also quite good, but there are also some lands that are hit by water. Well, the place is just like that. Sometimes, when it rains a little, it immediately floods, yes, there it failed, but not much," he informed.

Minister Limpo said that the food estates must be developed optimally to maintain food availability because a number of agricultural reserve lands on the island of Java have been converted into residential and industrial areas.

According to Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, the development of various food estates is going well.

In Central Kalimantan, the government will expand the land under food estates by 16 thousand hectares, bringing the total area to 60 thousand hectares.

"Regarding the development of a food estate in Central Kalimantan, the President has directed that the development of the construction of waterways and land processing be assigned to the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry so that later, the Agriculture Ministry will only have to (manage) the land that is ready," he informed.

The government will immediately address the issue of water and fertilizer availability in East Nusa Tenggara.

“Then, the development of food estates in Papua is (focused in) Merauke and also in the Keerom area. Merauke is close to one million hectares, while in Keerom, it is around three thousand hectares," he added.

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Translator: Indra Arief P, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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