Head of the Research and Development Board of the Agriculture Ministry Haryono said this year the government will open 250,000 hectares of the target of 1 million hectares of food estate in Merauke.
The 250,000 hectares of food estate would be grown with rice, and with a productivity of 6 tons per hectare, it would produce around 1.5 million tons of unhulled rice per year, Haryono said.
The food estate in Merauke is expected to contribute significantly to reaching the self sufficiency target in rice, he added.
"It is one harvest per year and the production would double if harvest could take twice a year," he said.
Haryono said Merauke has 1.2 million hectares of potential flat lands to be grown with food crop such as rice.
He said the government hopes to transform 1 million hectares of the lands into rice field in 2016 including 750,000 hectares by state company and the rest by the private sector.
"This year 250,000 hectares of the land would be developed to be grown with rice," he said.
The Research and Development Center of the Agriculture Ministry will provide high yield seed variety suitable with the soil.