Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia plans to increase its cotton production to 70,000 tons in 2010 to reduce its dependencw on imports, Director General of Plantations Achmad Manggabarani said here on Monday.
He said domestic need for cotton at present reached 550,000 tons a year but only 5,000 tons of it could be met by domestic production and the rest had to be met with imports.
"To meet the production target we plan to open 50,000 hectares of cotton plantations until 2010 and raise productivity to 1.4 tons per hectare," he said.
He said at present productivity of cotton plantations in Indonesia reached only 0.6 tons per hectare because the seeds the farmers used were of low quality.
The cotton plantation development program would be implemented in 55 districts in seven provinces, namely Central Java, East Java, Yogyakarta, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara and South Sulawesi.
At a production rate of 70,000 tons a year, national cotton plantations` contribution to the domestic textile industry and textile production would reach 4.7 percent or up 0.5 percent from the present level.
In 2006, cotton plantation development reached 8,980 hectares producing 4,191 tons of raw cotton equivalent to 1,397 tons of processed cotton to contribute 0.3 percent to the textile industry and textile production.
Manggabarani said three companies would be involved in the development of cotton, namely PT Nusa Farm in West Nusa Tenggara, PT Sukun in East Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta and Bali and PT Sebo Fajar in South Sulawesi.
The president director of PT Ade Agroindustry, Ii` Tjahyadi, said the textile industry needed a large quantity of long-fiber cotton. "The seeds are mostly imported and the results are good," he said.
He said the country actually had large potentials for cotton plantation development but it still had yet to overcome irrigation problems because the plantations were located on marginal land.
Commenting on the irrigation problem, director of water management of the directorate of water and land management of the ministry of agriculture, Gator Irianto, said his office would strive to exploit water sources from shallow and surface water supply for cotton plantations.
"We will use local equipment for easy operation by local farmers ," he said.