Food crisis looms in Indonesia as new malls eat up 100,000ha of land each year: Official

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post/Asia News Network) - A food crisis is looming in Indonesia as some 100,000 hectares of productive land is converted to business and commercial use even as the population continues to increase, a government official said on Friday.

The Agriculture Ministry's head of human resources counseling and development body, Winny Dian Wibawa, said productive land was being used for the development of shopping complexes and shopping malls.

"If no serious efforts [to stop the conversion] are made within the next three years, food security is under serious threat," Winny said.

She said that the condition was exacerbated by the difficulties in improving agricultural productivity, a poor irrigation system, poor quality of seeds and a declining workforce.

"That's why, for the next three years, the government will prioritise food self-sufficiency programmes," she said, adding that the program would begin by aiming for self-sufficiency in rice, corn and soybeans.