Cassava prices continue to climb

Cassava prices continued to move up into the second half of 2011 although the movement is slower than last year. Data from the Ministry of Commerce noted in the consumer price of cassava has risen 1.13% in the first half of 2011, the average price in January Rp 2988 per kilogram (kg) to Rp 3022 per kg in June 2011.

Rhomy Irawan, Second Secretary Cassava Farmers Association of Indonesia (Aspesindo) said the current high price increases that occurred in cassava farmers. From an average price of fresh cassava maximum of Rp 600 to Rp 650 per kg to Rp 900 to Rp 1100 per kg, this price varies depending on the type of cassava and cassava garden access.

"The price of land has increased beyond our expectations, this might be because there is a rise in demand. But we still observe whether the increase is only temporary because there are speculators or will be stable," said Rhomy via telephone on Tuesday (5 / 7).

Cassava Indonesia Society Head I Suhayo Husen said the price increase is driven by high demand from both domestic industry and overseas. Husen said Indofood demand for semi-finished cassava processed into chips alone reached 200,000 tons to 300,000 tons per year, whereas to produce 1 kg of chips it takes about 3.5 kg of fresh cassava.

Husen mention half the price of processed cassava is also increased from an average of Rp 1,500 per kg in January 2011 to Rp 2,000 in June. The high demand and prices offered by the food processing industry is made from raw cassava by Husen create more incentive to cassava production.

"People who were not planted cassava is now so willing to plant cassava. In East Kalimantan, opened 600 ha of new cassava fields, in Central Sulawesi, there are 600 hectares as well, then there is 3000 ha in Cianjur," Husen said when contacted Tuesday (5 / 7 ).

Rhomy premise that the additions of cassava plantations up to 35% from the end of last year due to weather factors that make farmers switch vegetable planting cassava. He also said Aspesindo currently pioneering the cultivation of cassava in Sukabumi is expected to increase local production by 50%.

Besides expanding production area, Husen stated farmers MSI members also use the seeds of cassava and cassava Manggu Darul Hidayah which has production capacity of up to 100 tons per hectare (Tonnes / Ha). Whereas ordinary cassava seedlings only has production capacity of 20 Ton / Ha. Husen said with this addition, the production of cassava this year could reach 25 million tones to 26 million tons, up about 10% of 2010 production of 23.9 million tons.

Husen said the business potential of cassava is still wide open due to the domestic industry only require an average of 1 million tons of tapioca flour per year, whereas to produce 1 kg of tapioca starch is needed 3.5 kg of fresh cassava. The need for modified cassava flour (Mocaf) also reached an average of 1 million tons per year. Not to mention the demand for cassava chip exports to China are one factory alone could require up to 4 million tones of cassava per year. From this demand, according to records MSI, Indonesia can only meet 5% or about 200,000 tons of cassava chips.

But worrying about the price of fresh cassava Rhomy can sag back to a level of maximum USD 700 if the supply is abundant and demand was rising from the current position. Moreover, if farmers are still only offer fresh cassava alone, the potential for export business could be released.

"Demand for export out of it in processed form, while to hold a cassava cutting machine and dryer that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars for one machine only. If for cooperatives or farmer groups combined (Gapoktan) is still a little heavy," said Rhomy.

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