Jakarta. A public-private partnership between Cargill, Monsanto and the Indonesian government on agriculture since 2012 aims to double the country's corn production capacity in the wake of the government's food self-sufficient program, a Cargill executive said on Sunday.
"We can help boost Indonesia's corn production. Maybe the production only reached three or four tons per hectare now, but with the right guidance and the best technology, we can achieve seven or eight tons per hectare," said Jean-Louis Guillou, Cargill Indonesia’s president director.
Cargill Indonesia, a commodity trader, is part of a partnership — called Indonesia's Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro) — between US-based biotech giant Monsanto Indonesia and the biggest state-controlled microlender Bank Rakyat Indonesia.
PISAgro was formed in 2012 and the pilot project began with 100 farmers in June last year in Jrambe village, Mojokerto in East Java.
Monsanto distributed its high-quality seeds while BRI facilitated finance to the farmers. The lender spent Rp 305 million ($23,500) on working capital credit. The farmers then sold their crops to Cargill.
With the project underway, Monsanto Indonesia is now aiming for a 15 percent increase in business this year.
"We're open to grow further. The key is how to help farmers access the technology, access marketability of the product and access to finance support. If we can put all those things together, we're open to reach to as many farmers as we can. Very big opportunity in Indonesia," said Juan Farinati, Monsanto vice president for Asia Pacific.
The company aimed to expand its program to other crops on 5,000 hectares — which may be in East Java, Easter Nusa Tenggara, North Sulawesi or South Sulawesi. The partnership could decide to involve 15,000 farmers this year.
Indonesia missed its target to be self sufficient in corn by 2014 as productivity and farmland shrunk. The nation resorted to import 3.6 million metric tons from the international market. The government is targeting to produce 20 million tons this year, up from 19 million tons last year, according to the Agriculture Ministry.