Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Agriculture Ministry said Indonesia has succeeded in achieving self-sufficiency in corn as domestic production has reached 90 percent of domestic demand.
"We have become self-sufficient in corn and have also begun exporting the product. However, it does not mean that imports have stopped. But domestic production now meets 90 percent of national demand. In 2008 we also exported corn," the ministry`s director general of food crops, Sutarto Alimoeso, said here on Wednesday.
In 2008 Indonesia imported 170,000 tons of corn and exported 150,000 tons.
He said exports could still increase. Fir this year the production target had been set at around 18 million tons of which one million tons would be exported.
The agriculture ministry was expecting domestic corn production to increase 14 percent this year.
National corn production in 2008 rose more than 22 percent from 16.3 million tons in the previous year.
He said the corn plantation area was increasing while productivity was also rising following the use of superior seeds.
Alimoeso said the government was subsidizing seed prices for rice, corn and bean farmers. Besides seed subsidy the government was also helping farmers to get superior seeds and seeds taken from national reserves.
For 2009, the agriculture ministry had allocated a corn seed subsidy for producing 4,266 tons of corn on an area of 225,534 hectares.
Seed assistance taken from national seed supply for the farmers will reach 5,595 tons for an area of 353,000 hectares. Direct top seed assistance totaling 7,610 tons meanwhile is allocated for an area of 507,333 hectares.