Wahyoe Boediwardhana, Lumajang– State-owned plantation-firm PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) and Yogyakarta-based Gadjah Mada University (UGM) have started a trial intercrop soybean and sugarcane in East Java.
PTPN III production-and-development director Mahmudi said that trials are being done at a 20-hectare planting area in Lampung with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) and a total of 30 hectares in East Java with UGM.
"We're looking for the maximum productivity with minimum cost," Mahmudi said at one of the planting fields owned by Jatiroto sugar company in Lumajang, East Java, on Tuesday.
Intercropping, locally known as tumpang sari, is the practice of growing two or more crops in proximity to produce a greater yield on a given piece of land.
The trial uses the UGM-recommended soybean-variety Dena 1, with 78 days of harvest, stronger pods and potential to yield 2.89 tons per hectare.
Indonesia consumes a total of 2.98 million tons of soybean in a year, while domestic yield only supplies around 200,000 tons each year.
"The national-soybean production can only provide a month's worth of the people's needs. The rest we have to import," Mahmudi said.
East Java has been a major producer of soybean and sugarcane.
According to the PTPN, Indonesia needs a total of 6.3 million tons of sugar each year – with 2.3 million provided from domestic production and 4.5 million tons imported.
Mahmudi said the PTPN is aiming to increase sugarcane harvest from currently around 5 tons per hectare to 6-7 tons per hectare. He said that if all state-owned enterprises could together provide 1 million hectares of land for sugarcane, Indonesia would be able to produce the national target of 6 million tons of sugarcane by 2026. (dre)