Nganjuk, East Java (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and First Lady Iriana Jokowi planted date palms in the Semantok Dam area, Nganjuk District, East Java, which the head of state had recently inaugurated.

"There were seven date palms planted in the Semantok Dam area. The trees were planted because they were suitable, rarely so there are date palms in Indonesia," Head of the Protocol and Communication Section for Nganjuk District Leadership Asti Widyartini stated on Tuesday.

Widyartini also said that Acting Head of Nganjuk District Marhaen Djumadi expected that by planting date palms in the dam area, it would become a tourist destination in future.

The president and First Lady Iriana personally planted the date palms. After planting, the trees were watered, so they would grow.

President Jokowi, accompanied by Mrs. Iriana Jokowi, inaugurated the Semantok Dam in Nganjuk District. The Semantok Dam is the 30th to have been inaugurated by the government from the dam's inauguration target until the end of 2024.

"As of today, the Semantok Dam is the 30th dam that we have inaugurated from the later target of around 50s, 60s at the end of 2024," the president noted.

The president also emphasized that water is the key for several sectors, from tourism to agriculture. He expected that the more dams are built, the better the welfare of Indonesian farmers would improve.

"The more dams we build, we expect that our agricultural production will improve and the welfare of farmers will also improve," he remarked.

The Semantok Dam was one of the dam projects in East Java whose construction commenced in 2017, with an investment value of up to Rp2.5 trillion (US$160 million). It boasts a capacity of 32.67 million cubic meters.

"The capacity of this dam is very large of 32.6 million cubic meters, with an inundation area of 365 hectares that will more or less irrigate 1,900 hectares of rice fields," he stated.

The head of state expected that the dam would benefit farmers, especially in Nganjuk District. Agricultural production is also expected to see some boost, as water supply is sufficient.

The president's entourage included Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, State Secretary Minister Pratikno, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa, and Acting Head of Nganjuk District Marhaen Djumadi.

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Translator: Asmaul Chusna, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Sri Haryati
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