The Jakarta Post
Several farmers have said they have not gained from the current high rice prices, claiming an increase in prices was caused by speculation by traders who have stockpiled the commodity.
The chairman of the West Java chapter of the Indonesian Farmers Federation (FSPI), Tatan Sutandi, said the price of husked paddy was Rp 4,500 (34 US cents) per kilogram during the harvest period due to an enormous supply.
“The paddy price is lower than the production cost. So the high price of rice does not affect the farmers in West Java,” he said, adding that many farmers produced poor quality rice as a result of pest attacks to their fields.
Meanwhile, FSPI Lampung head Muhlashin explained that many farmers owned less than 3,000 square meters of rice field, forcing them to immediately sell the commodity soon after the harvest period.
“So many farmers are forced to immediately sell their rice to make ends meet, buy fertilizer and so on. They only keep a small portion of their rice to meet their needs,” he added.
Speaking on the price hike, Muhlashin said that in Lampung, there were many traders from Java who bought large quantities of rice from warehouses in the province, particularly in Pringsewu and Tanggamus in Central Lampung regency.
Muhlashin said Lampung would begin harvesting rice next month, with the peak of the season set to occur within the next two to three months. In Sukabumi, the rice harvest period was expected to start in March or April, Tatan said. (bbn)