TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A number of rice retailers in Bandar Lampung said the lowered fuel subsidies have caused rice prices to rise by Rp200 per kilogram. More price increases are expected as farmers and grain mill operators are beginning to restrict supplies to retailers as the new planting season begins.
"Rice prices have begun to climb in the past several days, as the prices of Premium and Solar—brands of subsidized fuels marketed by state oil-and-gas company Pertamina—have risen," said Edi Susanto, a rice retailer at Bandar Lampung's Tugu Market on Monday.
The prices of rice in Bandar Lampung have already increased by Rp100-Rp200 per kilogram since last week, as Lampung's rice farmers prepare for the next planting season. According to Edi, the newly-planted crops will not be ready to be harvested until March 2015.
Edi said that the price of 'SJ' brand rice had reached Rp11,400 per kilogram, while other varieties retail between Rp8,500-Rp10,500 per kilogram, and that consumers can still go directly to farmers and grain mill operators to purchase their rice—albeit in smaller quantities. "Their sales volume have dropped slightly," he said.
Another retailer, Mrs. Rodjie, agreed with Edi, saying that rice supplies from mill operators as well as farmers had begun to decline. "Usually, producers would consign their produces to our store. These days, they're having difficulties in meeting orders from retailers. We haven't got ours, and we've only asked for one ton," she said.