Indonesia needs two million hectares of farmland in order to achieve its self-sufficiency target of 2.7 million tonnes of soybean production by 2014, according to Antaranews.com.
The assorted nuts and tuber affairs director of the Agriculture Ministry, Maman Suherman, said during a discussion here on Tuesday that 500,000 hectares of neglected farmland, among other things, could be used to cultivate soybeans.
"We only used 566,000 hectares for soybean cultivation in 2012, with the production reaching 779,000 tonnes," he noted.
According to Maman, Indonesia has a potential to achieve self-sufficiency in soybeans.
"In fact, the country had achieved self-sufficiency in soybeans in 1992, with a production of 1.87 million tonnes of soybean, yielded from 1.67 million hectares of farmland," he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the deputy chief of the Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), Listyani Wijayanti, said Indonesia's dependence on imported soybeans posed a serious threat to the country's food security.
According to Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) data, the domestic demand for soybeans in 2012 reached 2.2 million tonnes, of which 83.7 percent was for food products, 14.7 percent for soy sauce and other industries, 1.2 percent for seeds and 0.4 percent was for animal feed.
In 2011, the price of imported soybeans was about US$513 per tonne.