Indonesia starts developing food-bank estates

24 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Indonesia starts developing food-bank estates

Indonesia is developing vast farm estates across the archipelago—an area 10 times the size of neighbouring Singapore—to counter the nation’s reliance on imported food, President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday, reports AFP.

The project, which eventually will span nearly 800,000 hectares (two million acres), is preparing land to grow rice, cassava and corn for the world’s fourth-most populous country, Widodo told a televised cabinet meeting.The announcement will anger environmental groups, who have warned such projects mostly exploit peatland areas and encourage forest fires blamed for the seasonal haze that has choked much of the region for the past two decades.

Widodo said the project would “anticipate the world’s food crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic ... also to anticipate climate change as well as to curb our reliance to imported food”.

The early phase has already started in North Sumatra, as well as central Kalimantan, on the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo.

Eventually it may be extended to three more regions on the world’s biggest archipelago—South Sumatra, Papua and East Nusa Tenggara.