The Jakarta Post
Nine wholesalers have been accused of involvement in a red chili cartel, particularly for red bird’s eye chilies, which has been blamed for uncontrollable prices of the commodity in a number of regions in Java.
In some markets, chili prices can reach Rp 150,000 (US$11.10), although the price at the farmer level is less than Rp 50,000.
“There is no problem with the prices from farmers. The problems start from what I call large wholesalers who operate in East, Central and West Java,” the Agriculture Ministry’s horticulture director general Spudnik Sujono said as reported by tribunnews.com on Tuesday.
His statement was based on the results of a joint investigation by the National Police’s criminal investigations department, the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) and the ministry.
He said the nine wholesalers deployed staff in regions to collect the commodity from farmers. Previously, KPPU chair Syarkawi Rauff said the wholesalers had withheld the product, causing a scarcity of the commodity.
“The nine wholesalers deploy their men. If I was a wholesaler in East Java [for example], I would deploy my men in Kediri, Blitar and other towns [to buy chilies from farmers],” Spudnik added.
He blamed them for increases in red chili prices since December. (bbn)
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