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Agriculture Ministry estimates sugar production this year below the target set as much as 2.66 million tons.
Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said here on Monday that the 2007 sugar production would rise compared to last year but did not reach the set target.
"I do not know the exact figures, but our prediction is that there will be an increase in sugar production compared to last year, even though it is not as big as our target," said Minister of Agriculture after halal bihalal with Department of Agriculture employees.
The government is targeting the 2007 sugar production of 2.66 million tons, higher than the 2006 production of 2.44 million tons.
He acknowledged, not achieving sugar production target this year much affected by the dry season that happened last year consequently, in some places there is a decrease in productivity of sugar cane.
However, he added, the decline in productivity can be covered because of the addition of sugarcane fields, so that sugar production this year remains up.
As for sugar production next year, Anton is still optimistic that there will be an increase. For 2008, the government set a target of 2.74 million tons of sugar production.
"The sugar production next year I expect will increase with the increase of sugar cane productivity and the addition of planting area," he said.
Separately Corporate Secretary of PT Perkebunan Nusantara PTPN XI, Adig Suwandi said one of the obstacles of milling in 2007 was climate change that became a global issue.
The phenomenon of climate change is marked by the occurrence of rain in the dry season and dry season in the rainy season, in addition to the difficulty of weather prediction.
According to him, the late arrival of the rain in late 2006 had an impact on the stagnation of growth and development of plants.This is seen in the shortening of the lower stem segment and the number of stems that are far from expectations due to the number of dead buds, especially keprasan of the final harvest.
In the meantime, he added, the prolonged rain which is still falling at the beginning of the milling period causes the maturity of sugarcane is not optimal in addition to sugarcane harvested at the beginning also has the potential to produce low rendemen.
"Not surprisingly, if the first milled yield is generally not as expected, from the physical side, sugarcane is already old enough, but from the level of maturity is not adequate," he said.
It is said, to cope with climate change that it has menyiasati by doing some adaptation of cultivation treatment in an effort to maintain soil moisture.
How, through selective irrigation and organic fertilizer application in the form of biocompos and maturity boosting applications.
PTPN XI has grinded sugar cane as many as 4.5 million tons and produced 300,000 tons of sugar. From the composition of sugar consists of 165,000 tons of PG and 135,000 tons of farmers.
Milling is done on 16 sugar factories (PG) which in total capacity 34,700 tons of sugar cane per day.
Most of the PG will still finish milling until the end of November 2007. With the remaining sugar cane of 1.2 million tons and the rendemen which tend to increase in these days, Adig is optimistic, PTPN XI can achieve the target of 433,000 tons of sugar production.
Referring to the recommendation of the National Sugar Council (DGN) on the import of sugar consumption for next year, Anton who is also DGN Daily Chairman, said that his party can not yet confirm how much the import of white sugar.
"We have not determined yet (import volume, red), next month we just make sure, after the cane milling season is over we can calculate the need of sugar import," he said.For now, continued Anton, DGN will still explore the sugar production of each industry either from private sugar mill or state-owned enterprises.
Last year the government issued a white-sugar import permit of 200 thousand tons which was distributed to PTPN IX of 36,000 tons, PTPN X of 44,000 tons.
In addition, PTPN XI is 44,000 tons, PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia (RNI) 36,000 tons, and PT Trading Company Indonesia (PPI) of 40,000 tons. (* /