Tempeh, tofu back on table after three-day strike ends
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After being absent from Jakartans’ dining tables due to a three-day strike, tempeh (soybean cake) and tofu will be back on the market starting on Saturday.
Head of the city’s cooperatives and small and medium enterprises (SME) agency, Ratnaningsih, assured that producers would resume making the soybean products on Friday night. “Tempeh and tofu will be available at the market on Saturday,” Ratnaningsih said.
The agency chief said that representatives of the Central Cooperative of Indonesian Tempeh and Tofu Producers (Kopti) and the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry had met and reached an agreement on Thursday.
The government has temporarily scrapped taxes on soybean imports to make them more affordable. The previous 5 percent import duty on soybeans will be scrapped until the end of the year.
The government also agreed to allow tempeh and tofu makers’ cooperatives to import soybeans on their own. The government will ask state banks to help financing and State Logistics Agency (Bulog) to cope with the import procedures. Imports of soybeans were previously conducted by private entities.
Ratnaningsih was calling on city entrepreneurs not to worry about soy stock and urged tempeh and tofu producers not to hold any more strikes.
“The ones hurt most by the strikes were the consumers,” she said.
The city administration, Ratnaningsih said, would continue monitoring the situation and developments following any incidents.
The association of tofu and tempeh producers stopped production Wednesday in a protest against soaring soybean prices “to teach a lesson to consumers who complained about the high prices”.
Suyanto, chairman of East Jakarta branch of Kopti, confirmed that producers would get back to work, but tempeh and tofu prices would still be increased. “Prices of small-sized tempeh will be increased from
Rp 1,000 (10 US cents) to Rp 2,000; while larger items will rise from Rp 6,000 to Rp 8,000,” Suyanto said on Friday.
The association, however, expected the scrapped import duty to continue, rather than just being a temporary measure.
“In 2008, when the government increased the import duty, we took it to the streets. From 2008 to 2011, there was no import duty. The government should not have waited for us to react before making a decision,” Suyanto.
Since May this year, imported soybean prices in the domestic market have risen to Rp 8,000 per kilogram, from about Rp 5,000 early this year — up almost 50 percent so far in 2012.