JAKARTA, July 31 (UPI) -- Indonesia, a leading fertilizer exporter, is encouraging its fertilizer manufacturers to expand into the Myanmar market, an official said.
"Indonesia's agriculture-related industry has rapidly advanced and it's time for us to look for a better market out there," Deputy Agriculture Minister Rusman Heriawan said.
"Our neighboring country, Myanmar, has a promising market as they have millions of hectares of rice fields and good quality water for irrigation, with low yields due to poor fertilization."
Myanmar, formerly called Burma, has millions of acres of rice fields with low yields, the Jakarta Post reported Wednesday.
The minister said Myanmar has an average rice yield of up to 2.5 tons per hectare (about 2.5 acres), compared with Indonesia's rice output of up to 8 tons per hectare.
Industry estimates say Myanmar, with a population of about 62 million, has a total of 12.6 million hectares (31.5 million acres) of land under rice cultivation.
Indonesia exported $549.4 million worth of fertilizers to 20 countries, including the United States and Australia, last year, up sharply from $433 million in 2011, official data showed.
Rusman said state-owned fertilizer company PT Pupuk Indonesia Holding Co., through its subsidiaries PT Pupuk Sriwijaya and PT Pupuk Kujang, were surveying the market in Myanmar and expect to secure a contract after one planting period for about three months, the Post said.
"Should things go well, we want our state-owned companies to not only sell fertilizer but also manage their own plots of land in that country," he said.