Jakarta-wapresri.go.id. Among the areas in the priority list government is developing other than infrastructure is agriculture.

“Indonesia critically needs to increase its agricultural productivity as it is below the world average,” said Vice Jusuf Kalla in a meeting with Co-Founder and CEO of Olam International Group Sunny George Verghese at the Vice President Office in Jakarta on Thursday (April, 28).

Production capacity of commodities such as coffee, cacao, and sugar, the Vice President said, needs to be increased as it is almost impossible to expand agricultural lands.

“Production capacity of our sugar is less than 100 thousand kilograms per hectare, while for coffee it is only 700 thousand kilograms per hectare. We are left behind Vietnam that has achieved 2 tons per hectare,” he said, adding that it is also important to develop technology for farmers to increase productivity.

The Vice President’s statement is a response to an initiative by Olam International Group, an international agricultural company, to invest in Indonesia.

Sunny Verghese appreciated Indonesian government that has issued Economic Policy Package by announcing the revised negative investment list (DNI) which opens the chance for private sectors to take part in the economic development in the country.

“We are currently in a process of negotiation with PT RNI to explore cooperation in the field of sugar industry and to look for good agricultural land in Subang, West Java,” he said.

Cooperation with Indonesian companies, Sunny said, is meant to make sugar industry more efficient by improving its management and technology to improve productivity.

Olam International Group through the cooperation, he added, planned to open new sugarcane farms and to develop a new sugar factory. The company, he added, would also increase its sugar refining capacity in its factory in Cilacap from 250 thousand tons to 350 thousand tons per year.

Sunny expected that cooperation with private sectors in the field of agriculture would potentially boost production capacity and investment in Indonesia.

Olam Group in Indonesia has involved more than 35 thousand local farmers in developing cacao plantations. In addition, the company that has been operating for 20 years in Indonesia has also developed 47 agricultural commodities spread in 26 countries around the world.