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July 2, 2008

Indonesia set to become major rice exporter
Indonesia, only a few years ago the world's largest importer of rice, will take a big leap forward planning to export 6 million tons of that commodity in 2009, reported state news agency Antara.

The agency quoted Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono as saying that the country is set place itself in the ranks of major rice suppliers in the world.

Anton said to support the ambition, 1.6 million hectares of rice fields will be opened in Merauke, Papua involving a consortium of investors from Saudi Arabia.

The project will cost around $15 billion, Apriyantono told the newspaper Investor Daily last weekend.

He said he has discussed the plan with a delegation from Saudi chamber of commerce and industry as a follow up of his meeting with the Saudi agriculture minister on the sideline of the food summit in Roma last month.

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