Although the industrial sector of the economy is gradually gaining importance as a result of conscientious government policies, Indonesia is still predominantly agrarian. Major agricultural products for domestic consumption and export include rice, corn, cassava, soybeans, timber, rubber, palm-oil and spices. Indonesian agronomists, in cooperation with the International Rice Institute based in the Philippines, are continuously developing new strains of rice.
In the field of fisheries, shrimp has become a mayor foreign exchange earner. To support the growing shrimp culture, a Shrimp Research Centre has been set up in Jepara, central Java with UNDP assistance. Under government guidance, fish production in the Indonesian waters is estimated to have increased at a rate of 5,4% annually. Snail production is also growing as an export item to countries in Europe where it is considered a delicacy. Plantations play an important role within the context of agricultural development, as their total area covers approximately 6,6 million hectares of which 83,7% are smallholders. Tobacco planting has been intensified in several areas, the largest estates being in East Java where they cover a total area of 1,000 hectares. Tea is continuously being cultivated. The rejuvenation of coconut plantations proceeds in order to regain Indonesia’s prominent pre World War II position in the export of this crop. Rejuvenating rubber estates, the majority of which are located in Sumatra, is also being encouraged.
Development in the field of palm-oil has resulted in a steady increase in output, around 15 % annually. Indonesia’s first cotton growing company was set up in 1978 in South Sulawesi in response to Indonesia’s present need for around 350,000 bales annually for its growing textile industry.