Jokowi Orders Food Agency to Import 1 Million Tons of Rice from China
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The National Food Agency (Bapanas) head Arief Prasetyo Adi confirmed that President Joko Widodo or Jokowi ordered the import of one million tons of rice from China to increase the government's rice reserves (CBP) for 2024.
“We are exploring the plan with China following the President's order some time ago,” Arief told Tempo on Tuesday evening, September 26, 2023.
He said the rice import was decided in light of a decline in production due to the El Nino-induced extreme drought. The Agriculture Ministry recorded that rice production dropped by up to five percent.
This year, Arief added that the government had succeeded in absorbing about 830,000 tons of rice from local farmers this year. He also hoped for higher domestic absorption in 2024, especially if the national movement to anticipate the effect of the El Nino (Gernas El Nino) program implemented by the Agriculture Ministry on 500 hectares of land succeeds in boosting rice production.
As previously reported, Jokowi confirmed on September 11 that he would reopen the rice import option in 2024. He assessed that imports were still needed to ensure sufficient stocks at the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) until next year. He also believed that imports as a government intervention could control the commodity price in the market.
On September 19, the President also talked of the government’s plan to increase rice stocks by a total of one million tons to stabilize the commodity price, which has exceeded the national average price of almost Rp15,000 per kilogram.
At present, the government reported that Bulog has 1.6 million tons of rice stocks, which will increase with the arrival of another 400,000 tons of imported rice by the end of the year. The government is now distributing rice reserves during the rice social assistance program and market operations in a bid to curb price spikes.
RIANI SANUSI PUTRI
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