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Indonesian Traders Express Concerns as Rice Prices Surge Over 20%

A rice trader serves a customer at a traditional market in East Jakarta, Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. (B-Universe Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

Jakarta. The Indonesian Traditional Market Traders Association (Ikappi) is raising concerns over the rising price of rice, as traders encounter challenges in acquiring premium rice due to restricted stocks in milling facilities.

Reynaldi Sarijowan, the Secretary-General of Ikappi, revealed that the surge in rice prices is attributed to delayed planting and harvesting seasons. Additionally, last year’s production was restricted, causing an imbalance between supply and demand.

Therefore, Ikappi is urging the release of rice stocks, especially premium rice, from local mills. The longer the delay, the higher the prices will rise. In 2024, rice prices have already increased by more than 20 percent compared to the previous year, rising from Rp 14,000 to Rp 18,000 per kilogram.

“The production for this year needs to be increased. In addition, subsidies should be allocated, and the fertilizer subsidy budget should be expanded on a broader scale to boost production,” said Reynaldi Sarijowan on Friday.

To meet the high demand leading up to the fasting month (Ramadan) in March, Reynaldi said that the government’s stock, local companies’ stock, and milling facilities should promptly release supplies to traditional markets. 

Additionally, the Food Task Force of the Indonesian National Police Headquarters needs to monitor these stocks to ensure they are not delayed for too long and can be released promptly.

“Bulog also needs to ensure the smooth distribution of medium-quality rice to traditional and retail markets,” added Reynaldi.

The government is bolstering the national rice reserves (CBP) to preempt potential inflation caused by the escalating rice prices. Indonesia is considering importing 2 million tons of rice from Thailand amid the continuous increase in the price of this essential food crop.

To address this issue, the government is implementing the supply and price stabilization program (SPHP), aimed at saturating the market with reasonably priced rice. Additionally, rice food assistance is being distributed to the lower-income population to stabilize rice prices.

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Published Date: February 23, 2024

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