Bogor, West Java (ANTARA) - ID FOOD Director Frans Marganda Tambunan invited IPB University's students and academics to develop superior sugarcane varieties and sugar-producing plants to support government's targeted self-sufficiency in sugar consumption in 2028 and industrial sugar in 2030.

During his speech at IPB on Tuesday, he noted that high-yielding varieties of sugar-producing plants were needed to meet people's consumption needs without depending on sugar imports.

"This is where we need the role of IPB's students and academics. President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had set a target of self-sufficiency in sugar consumption and industry in 2028. We need superior varieties," he emphasized.

Tambunan said the president had stated that the government is preparing 700 thousand hectares of sugarcane fields to support the sugar self-sufficiency target for the next five years.

The sugarcane plantations are planned to be spread across various regions of the country, the director of the state-owned food holding remarked.

Moreover, President Jokowi also remarked that there were new superior varieties of sugarcane that could boost production.

The planting of the new variety in 26 days showed good results and even better results than Brazil, Tambunan stated.

Hence, as per the direction of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) Minister, Erick Thohir, ID FOOD and other partners need to prioritize the development of Indonesian farmers to achieve food security, he noted.

ID Food, through its subsidiaries, had met 12 percent of the national sugar needs. However, the food company still needs to divert 30 percent of imported sugar to be fully covered by the national sugar production, he remarked.

He is optimistic that his side would succeed in fulfilling this requirement based on history in the 1990s when Indonesia became the largest sugar-exporting country in the world.

Currently, national sugar production can develop with educated human resources available from universities to produce new varieties of sugarcane, he stated.

"We need additional land and quality improvements. Hence, IPB's role is needed here. Another challenge arises is the weather. We need weather-resistant varieties as well," Tambunan stated.

According to Head of the National Food Agency, Arief Prasetyo Adi, sugar procurement was carried out to meet the people's needs.

Based on the calculation of the 2023 Food Commodity Balance, the national requirement for sugar reaches 3.4 million tons, with domestic production estimated at 2.6 million tons.

Moreover, the country still has sugar reserves from 2022 amounting to 1.1 million tons. Hence, 900 thousand tons of sugar are still needed to be procured at the end of the year to maintain the amount of sugar reserves.

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Translator: Linna Susanti, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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