Sugarcane production feared to shrink on unfavorable climate

The Association of Indonesian Sugarcane Farmers (APTRI) said that the countrys production of sugarcane might decline on unfavorable climate.

The year 2016 would be a difficult period for sugarcane growers in the country, the General Chairman of APTRI Arum Sabil said.

Lengthy drought in 2015 affected vegetation and fertilization was not maximum that sugarcane production could decline in 2016, Arum said here on Monday.

“It is beyond human power. We could only hope that the dry season and rainy season would not too lengthy,” he said.

The natural condition is one of the factors causing sugar fields to shrink in 2015, he said.

“The sugarcane plantations decreased 20 percent in size to 475,000 hectares and the productivity shrank 10-15 percent in 2015,” he said.

One of the causes was lack of attention of the government to the condition faced by sugarcane farmers, he said.

“At that time fertilizers were not easily available for farmers that the crop could not grow well,” he added.

Therefore, if the government wanted success in achieving the target of self sufficiency in sugar supply in 2018, it must improve distribution of fertilizers and revitalize sugar factories, he said.

He suggested that fund should be set aside for the revitalization of sugar factories in the state budget instead of relying only on state companies.

However, state-owned plantation company, PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) X predicted a better year in 2016 setting a higher production target for sugar.

The largest sugar producer among state companies has set its sugar production target at 475,000 tons in 2016 or a 10 percent growth from production of 431,020 tons in 2015.

“Sugar content is also expected to increase to 8.5 percent from 8.3 percent in 2015,” Subiyono , the president director of the company, was quoted as saying earlier this week.

With the production target, PTPN X would continue to be the largest sugar producer among state plantation companies in Indonesia, Subiyono said.

He said he was optimistic the production target could be achieved despite fear of the impact of weather anomaly.

The company would carry out revitalization both on farm and off farm (factory).

Revitalization on farm would be carried out by using high yield seed variety and off farm revitalization would improve efficiency, he said.

Efficiency of factory would be made through electrification reducing the use of coal for fuel , efficiency of grinding machines to reduce losses in the process of production and improving efficiency in supply of sugarcane.

“The entire processes are important to be more competitive, which is determined by success in cutting production cost,” he said.

Source: Antara News