20 May 2015

Indonesia moves ahead with rice fields in Papua

9:57 am on 20 May 2015

Indonesia's state-owned fertilizer maker Pupuk Indonesia is to raise $US 534-million to clear and develop 750,000 million hectares of rice fields in Papua.

Rice field

Rice field Photo: Supplied

The Jakarta Globe reports this is part of President Joko Widodo's programme to establish a million hectares of rice, sugar cane, soybean, corn, and oil palm-growing area - dubbed the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate - in Papua by 2017.

An official with Indonesia's Agriculture Ministry, Haryono, says Pupuk Indonesia is still discussing how to fund the investment.

Private companies will be responsible for developing the remaining 250,000 hectares.

Haryono says the project still had to resolve land acquisition issues, with the majority of the land being communally owned.

He says a plus is that Merauke's land is flat and has irrigation systems left by the Dutch, which only need a few repairs.

The government targets to clear 250,000 hectares of land by the end of this year.