Jakarta (ANTARA) - Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman said that his ministry is continuing to make efforts to increase planting areas and agricultural productivity in East Java by installing water pumps in order to reduce rice imports.

“We installed pumps so that the planting can be increased from once to thrice (per year),” he said after chairing an agricultural equipment provision ceremony in Surabaya, East Java, on Thursday.

He explained that with the help of water pumps, rice production can be increased to 2 million. Even a 1-million tons increase is sufficient to replace 50 percent of imports, he said.

Sulaiman noted that water pumping is a quick and accurate solution for handling the impact of the El Nino phenomenon on the agriculture sector.

“El Nino has a significant impact on the agricultural sector. The big impact that is clearly visible is the decline in food production, especially rice, nationally in 2023," he said in an official statement released in Jakarta.

Related news: Govt forecasts 8.46 mln tons rice harvest in March–April

He further said that water pumps would have a positive impact in meeting the country’s production target and needs this year.

“Pumps can help farmers plant and produce quickly and maximally,” he added.

The minister said that as one of the food center regions, East Java has 380 thousand hectares of rain-fed land. He expressed optimism that the pumping system would be able to maximize rice planting in those 380 thousand hectares of land.

According to him, his ministry has provided 3,700 water pumps worth Rp113.9 billion (around US$7.03 million), which will be spread to 21 districts and cities in East Java.

On the same occasion, acting governor of East Java, Adhy Karyono, said that his province is still the biggest rice producer in Indonesia.

He noted that from 2020 to 2023, East Java contributed 17.9 percent to national rice production. In 2023, the province’s rice production reached 9.7 million tons of unhusked rice, or equal to 5.6 million tons of rice.

Related news: Indonesia targets higher rice output to combat soaring prices

Translator: Muhammad Harianto, Raka Adji
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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