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Indonesia to import three million tons of rice in 2024: minister

Illustration – A ship carrying imported rice arrived at Panjang port in Lampung province. (FOTO ANTARA LAMPUNG/Eni Muslihah/HS)

Garut, W Java (ANTARA) – Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said Indonesia will again import three million tonnes of rice this year to fulfill its rice deficit, caused by the El Nino weather pattern.

“The government has decided to import three million tonnes of rice. Two million of which are being processed at the State Logistics Agency (Bulog),” he said on the sidelines of his visit to Garut, West Java, on Saturday (January 20).

Last year, Indonesia imported around 3.5 million tonnes of rice. Three million tons had been received while 500 thousand tons of the imported rice are expected to arrive this month,” he said.

According to Hartarto who visited Garut District to hand over the government’s rice aid to beneficiary families, the El Nino climate pattern that has recently impacted Indonesia has caused a national rice deficit.

To fulfill the deficit of rice up to 2.3 million tons owing to the impact of the El Nino weather pattern, the government has decided to import rice, he said.

President Joko Widodo has even approved the importation of two million tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand to secure Indonesia’s national rice stocks, he added.

Regarding the importation of rice, National Food Agency (Bapanas) Head Arief Prasetyo Adi has said that the government’s decision to import rice was a bitter alternative that should be taken to strengthen the Government’s Rice Reserve (CBP) stocks.

Speaking in Jakarta earlier this week, Adi said the mandate for Bulog to import two million tons of rice in 2024 must be carried out amid the decline in Indonesia’s rice production due to the El Nino weather pattern.

“We know that the condition of national rice production declined due to the impact of climate change and El Nino. We experience the impact months after it, so in early 2024, there will be deficit in the monthly rice balance,” he remarked.

Statistics Indonesia (BPS) estimated that Indonesia would record a rice deficit in the January-February 2024 period, with a total deficit of 2.83 million tons. The deficit in January is forecast to reach 1.61 million tons, while in February, it is projected at 1.22 million tons.

This condition can cause an escalation in rice prices, so taking requisite precautionary measures is deemed necessary, he said.

Adi asserted that his agency continues to make efforts to maintain balance in rice prices at the levels of farmers, producers, and consumers. QR Code

Published Date: January 21, 2024

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