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May 2024

Jokowi, Cambodian PM Hun Manet Hold Talks on Rice Import

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo meets Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne on March 5, 2024. (Photo Courtesy of Presidential Press Bureau)

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo recently met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet for some talks on rice imports, among others, as Indonesia tries to secure the supply of its staple food.

The meeting took place in Melbourne on Tuesday local time. Jokowi and Manet are currently in Melbourne to attend the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.

According to a presidential press bureau statement, the two leaders discussed cooperation on food security, including rice imports from Cambodia. Jokowi is also seeking the renewal of the bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) on rice trade. As well as another MoU counter-trade mechanism in which Jokowi wants both sides to agree on the price and volume of the imported rice.

“We need to push for the implementation of our MoU on agricultural cooperation, especially on the capacity building of agricultural management, irrigation, as well as investment in rice processing and storage,” Jokowi told Manet.

Food security has become a key sector in Indonesia-Cambodia ties.

In 2023, the two ASEAN economies signed a MoU on agricultural cooperation. Last year, Jokowi hosted Manet for some talks at Jakarta’s Merdeka Palace. Jokowi said at the time that the Cambodian government had given its nod to supply 250,000 tons of rice to Indonesia per year. Indonesia will also supply fertilizers to Cambodia to support its food security.

Indonesia is currently dealing with skyrocketing rice prices, which the National Statistics Agency (BPS) reported to even hit a historic high in February. The average premium rice prices stood at Rp 14,525 ($0.92) per kilogram, up by 6.31 percent compared to the previous month. The price of medium-quality rice also rose 7.39 percent to Rp 14,162 per kilogram. The average price of lower-quality rice also went up by 4.65 percent to Rp 13,664 per kilogram.

BPS data also shows that Indonesia mainly imported its rice from Thailand in January. Thai rice that was shipped to Indonesia amounted to 237,640 tons, representing about 55.53 percent of the total rice imports in that period. Followed by Pakistan (129,780 tons), Myanmar (41,640 tons), and Vietnam (32,340 tons). Indonesia’s overall rice imports totaled 443,910 tons in January.

Indonesia-Cambodia trade totaled $961.2 million throughout 2023, up by 21.94 percent from $788.3 million recorded in the previous year. QR Code

Published Date: March 6, 2024

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