Indonesia reassures no rice shortage despite retail restrictions

The Indonesian government affirmed today that there is no shortage in the country’s rice stocksdespite increasing restrictions on sales in mini markets and supermarkets that have been in place since the close of 2023.

Arief Prasetyo Adi, the Head of the National Food Agency (NFA), made this assurance following a coordination meeting with the president. He also highlighted the government’s plans to expedite the availability of rice for modern retail outlets.

Over the past year, there have been reports of dwindling availability of five-kilogram rice sacks in modern retail outlets, causing a limitation for retail consumers. The Head of the Retail Business Association, Roy Mandey, verified these restrictions, asserting that they were put in place to ensure fair distribution and prevent reselling. The association is currently working on ensuring the availability of rice.

During an online weekly inflation meeting today, February 12, it was reported that the price of rice had escalated by 1.65% by mid-February. Meanwhile, data from the agriculture ministry indicated that the country experienced a rice deficit of 1.63 million tonnes in January and 1.15 million tonnes in February.

The NFA revealed that Indonesia aims to import 2.44 million tonnes of rice in 2024. Approximately 445,000 tonnes of this figure is a quota carried over from 2023. Edy Priyono from the presidential staff office cautioned that there were areas at high risk of being flooded in January and February, which could potentially cause a delay in the harvest.

The state food procurement agency, Bulog, announced on Monday that Indonesia is planning to import 200,000 metric tonnes of rice from Thailand under a government-to-government arrangement. Earlier this month, Bulog confirmed that it had contracted 500,000 metric tonnes of rice from Vietnam, Myanmar, and Pakistan.

Import quota

This year, the Indonesian government approved a rice import quota of 2 million tonnes, with a quarter expected to arrive by March. In 2023, Indonesia imported 3.06 million tonnes of rice, a figure close to a record high, reported Bangkok Post.

Despite an original forecast of a 32 million metric tonne rice output for 2024, officials now expect the output for January and February to decline by 46% from the previous year to 2.25 million tonnes. The El Nino weather pattern disrupted output last year, but production is expected to bounce back this year. The meteorological agency predicts that the El Nino effect will persist in early 2024 but gradually neutralise by April.

Last year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo stated that his government had secured a commitment from India and Thailand to bolster the rice supply for 2024.

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Barack
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