June 25, 2020 / 5:38 AM / 11 days ago

Indonesia plans farm estate in Borneo to boost food security

JAKARTA, June 25 (Reuters) - Indonesia plans to develop a major farm estate covering more than 164,000 hectares (405,000 acres) on the island of Borneo after warnings of a potential food crisis due to the coronavirus outbreak, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday.

The project in Central Kalimantan province will boost output from around 85,000 hectares of existing farmland and add another 79,000 hectares, including from previously drained peat land, the ministry said.

The government will cultivate a range of food crops, as well staples, Kuntoro Boga Andri, a spokesman for the agriculture ministry, said in the statement.

“We are talking about a food estate that will not only have rice and corn,” he said, adding that it would include fruit and vegetables and animal farms.

The government has previously developed a similar estate on in Papua province and has plans to develop more.

Local media quoted Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono as saying the land planned for the food estate was previously developed by the government in the mid 1990s, but had since been abandoned. (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe; writing by Fransiska Nangoy; editing by Richard Pullin)

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