The Jakarta Post
Personnel from the Agriculture Ministry and the Food Security Task Force at the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) have interrogated six wholesalers of red bird’s eye chilis over suspected anti-competitive practices in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.
“Investigators questioned the six wholesalers from Lombok on Thursday. Three other wholesalers are set to attend a questioning session in Jakarta next week,” said Brig. Gen. Agung Setya, director of the special economic crimes division at Bareskrim, as quoted by Antara in Jakarta on Friday.
He said the task force checked on red bird’s eye chili prices and available stocks at five traditional markets in Lombok following reports of sharp increases in the price of the commodity in the area. The five markets were the Dasan Agung, Keru, Mandalika, Masbagik and Paok Montong markets.
The result of the investigation revealed that the chilis were traded in the five markets at prices between Rp 55,000 (US$4.13) and Rp 65,000 per kilogram, while at the level of farmers, the commodity was selling for between Rp 17,000 and Rp 18,000 per kg.
Lombok is a production center for this type of chili. It supplies the commodity to markets across Indonesia, including the Kramat Jati wholesale market in East Jakarta.
“The task force will continue to identify causes for the increase in red bird’s eye chili prices in Lombok. Certainly, parties that have intentionally committed illegal practices that have led to price increases will be punished,” said Agung. (dis/ebf)