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Cassava in East Nusa Tenggara

East Nusa Tenggara province is set to export dried cassava and bio-ethanol to South Korea next year, with a predicted value of US$1 million, a Korean businessman has said.

The cassava and bio-ethanol exports are expected to increase to increase to $101 million in 2012, he said during a meeting in Bogor Wednesday.

Samyang IDB, a joint venture between South Korea's Samyang and national company IDB, has allocated $40 million to establish 30,000 hectares of cassava plantations in West Manggarai Regency. The company will also build a bio-ethanol factory costing $10 million. Samyang controls 51.2 percent of shares, while the rest are owned by IDB.

The methanol bio-fuel and the cassava raw products, like dried cassava will be exported to South Korea, where the latter will meet demand for human and cattle food, glue, cosmetics, and pharmacy products.

The company has opened 300 hectares of plantation this year to create seed-beds to supply 3,000 hectares in 2010 and 30,000 hectares in 2011. It has also opened 50 hectares of seed plantations in West Java. The company uses a cassava variety called IDB Superior Cassava (ISC). Each hectare will produce up to 100 tons, or three times higher than the present national average.

Last year Indonesia produced 21.8 millions tons of cassava. Major producing areas include Lampung and North Sumatra.

"We chose East Nusa Tenggara because this province has major potential for cassava cultivation. And it is also very easy to obtain 30,000 hectares of land there compared to other provinces," said company director David Baek Wednesday.

According to Baek, the price of Indonesian cassava is very competitive compared to agricultural feed-stock from countries like Brazil and this would help to make Indonesian ethanol production lower cost than the sugar cane methanol method widely used in Brazil. The company is expected to hire at least 1,200 workers, at this stage.

On Friday, Baek, a South Korean national, signed an MoU with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) covering fieldwork on a land survey, evaluation of the agricultural environment, and the formulation of a strategic plan for cassava cultivation in the province.

Lala Kolopaking, the head of IPB's Center for Development and Rural Areas Studies, said his office has suggested that the Korean company should introduce cassava as an alternative staple food in the impoverished province, in addition to its export purposes.

"When local people have accepted cassava as *an alternative food*, and then we can move to biotechnology," said Kolopaking, who represented IPB in the agreement with Samyang IDB

1 Comment:

  Marta M

7:09 AM

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