Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia has the potential to develop an integrated sugar industry with swamp-based sugarcane plantations, according to the Industry Ministry.

The ministry's Agro-Industry Director General, Putu Juli Ardika, made the statement while reviewing the project involving swamp-based sugarcane plantation that had been pursued by PT Pratama Nusantara Sakti (PT PNS) since 2009.

"Indonesia has the potential to develop sugarcane plantation in swamps. (The sugarcane) plantation, which is located in Ogan Komering Ilir, South Sumatra, is the first plantation in Indonesia that is developed on a swamp," he noted in a statement received here on Thursday.

Ardika commended the initiative of the company that successfully transforms the swamp for more productive purposes, i.e., into a sugarcane plantation.

Unfortunately, the initiative has its own shortcomings, as it leads to higher production costs for aspects, such as facilities, transportation, fertilizers, and power, he pointed out.

Moreover, they are facing a tough time in getting qualified employees, he added. They also encountered difficulty in the planting mechanism, as the soil is of a much harder nature to be managed by machinery and tools, Ardika noted.

Director for Business Support at the company Isman Hariyanto stated that transportation is one of the supporting factors to improve the quality of the company's sugar products.

"Currently, access to Kayu Agung toll road from Dusun Waduk Gajah Mati, outside the PT PNS area, spans some 225 km, of which most of it has been paved using the special allocation fund from Ogan Komering Ilir's Government," he noted.

By building the rest of the road, it is expected that transportation access for the general public and the industry can be improved, he noted.

He said that the company has vouched to assist the government by setting an example in turning swamps into sugarcane plantations.

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Translator: Ade Irma Junida, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Sri Haryati
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