Lawmaker criticizes Trade Ministry's sugar policy
The Jakarta Post
A House of Representatives’ lawmaker criticized the Trade Ministry’s policy that requires the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) to purchase sugar from local farmers at a benchmarked price – Rp 9,700 (67 US cents) – per kilogram, while at the same time allowing the import of raw sugar.
“Farmers won’t gain any profit from the benchmark sugar price of Rp 9,700 per kg,” said Nasril Bahar, a member of the House’s Commission VI overseeing trade, investment and industry affairs, on Monday as reported by tribunnews.com.
“It will be a great dilemma when sugar prices are high and Bulog is forced to buy sugar from farmers at high prices. Meanwhile, the Trade Ministry also continues to allow import of raw sugar.”
The ministry’s policy to allow large-scale import of raw sugar was contradictory to the sugarcane farmers’ interest, said Nasril, adding that such a policy had caused difficulty to both farmers and Bulog.
He said only importers of raw sugar and entrepreneurs who processed raw sugar into white crystalline sugar benefitted from the government’s sugar policy, while local farmers suffered because the price of sugar they produced was often higher than the price of imported sugar.
Nasril said entrepreneurs benefiting from raw sugar imports would not buy sugarcane from farmers because it would be less beneficial.
Therefore, he called on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to protect the interests of local sugarcane farmers and Bulog during the harvest season by not allowing the ministry to issue permits to import raw sugar.
He claimed that raw sugar import had exceeded the limit. (acr/bbn)
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