TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi ensured the government would not import rice if the supply from domestic farmers was sufficient to meet the national needs. According to him, rice would be imported once the reserve in the State Logistics Agency or Bulog's warehouse is running low.
“I ensure that there will be no imports of rice during the great harvest. So now there is no imported rice that will harm farmers,” said Lutfi in a virtual press conference on Friday, March 19, 2021.
The government's plan to import rice amounting to 1.5 million tons was mentioned in the statement of the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs some time ago. The plan was a scenario to calculate the sufficient supply of basic commodity needs based on the stocks in Bulog's warehouse.
Lutfi admitted his ministry asked for a coordination meeting to discuss rice imports. This meeting was attended by the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture.
He also denied that ministries and state institutions failed to see eye to eye regarding rice imports as to whether the country was lacking rice supply.
“We have never said that we lacked or have no stocks of rice. If there is a different statement, ask me. Do not blame the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, the Agriculture Minister, or the Bulog Director,” Lutfi said.
FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA