Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government is preparing one million hectares of land in Papua for investors interested in building sugar factories to help Indonesia achieve sugar self-sufficiency, Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman said on Tuesday.

"With one million hectares of land, we can attract a lot of companies. One sugar factory may need 20 to 40 hectares of land with a capacity of 12,000 tons of cane per day (TCD)," Sulaiman said after a meeting with President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in Jakarta.

He added that the government will not limit the number of domestic and foreign investors planning to build sugar factories in Indonesia.

"Yes, it is included in our sugar self-sufficiency plan. We can reach the target if we can build 20 to 30 sugar factories with a capacity of 12,000 TCD," Sulaiman continued.

He estimated that up to Rp3 trillion (around US$192.7 million) would be needed to build one sugar factory with a capacity of 12,000 TCD.

Claiming that there are companies that have started planting sugarcane in Papua, Sulaiman said that Indonesia's journey toward sugar self-sufficiency will still take a long time since sugarcane is an annual plant whose seedlings need to be cultivated in stages.

"Sugarcane is an annual plant with several processing stages. It also requires pure and superior seedlings from the beginning of the process," he added.

Besides the need to adapt to the local agricultural climate, the stages of planting sugarcane seedlings can take more than three years, Sulaiman said.

He added that, to boost sugar production, sugar factories in Papua are expected to be built using modern technology.

"In India, sugar production can reach 150 tons per hectare, whereas in Indonesia it can only reach 60–70 tons. The most important thing is the high-quality seedlings, which can produce a minimum yield of 100 tons per hectare," he disclosed.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa P, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Anton Santoso
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