Senior agriculture official warns rice import could harm production
The Jakarta Post
The Agriculture Ministry's director general for food crops has criticized the Trade Ministry’s decision to import rice, as the country produced enough rice to meet local demand, and stressed that importing the commodity could disrupt long-term rice production.
Food crops director general Sumarjo Gatot Irianto stressed said on Sunday in Jakarta that he could prove that Indonesia produced a sufficient amount of rice through satellite images that showed the rice harvest across the country as well as the dates of the rice harvest, reported by tempo.co.
Sumarjo also criticized those who questioned the rice production data, saying that his office had valid data.
“The question is why the market experienced a shortage in rice when distribution has been smooth and the harvest was huge,” he said.
He suspected that the rice supply chain was disrupted, and that relevant parties in the government should find a better solution for easing the price hike rather than simply importing the commodity.
Sumarjo said that importing rice as a solution would disrupt long-term rice production, as it discouraged farmers from producing the commodity. “Don’t introduce a solution for a short-term problem that will disrupt the agricultural production system,” he added.
The government decided on Jan. 11 to import 500,000 tons of rice through the Trade Ministry, in an effort to ease increasing rice prices that had exceeded the government's ceiling prices since last month. (bbn)
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