The Jakarta Post
The government’s decision to import 500,000 tons of rice to ease the increasing price of the commodity received criticism as critics said it would affect the income of farmers.
Michael Wattimena, deputy chairman of the House of Representatives’ Commission IV, which oversees the agriculture sector, among others, said on Tuesday the policy would negatively affect farmers’ income as the harvest season would come within the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, the imported rice is scheduled to arrive late this month.
“Don’t let our farmers pay the price because of the government’s decision to import,” said Michael, as reported by tribunnews.com adding that the government should have a proper policy to stabilize rice prices.
The lawmaker also criticized the government-sponsored Food Taskforce (Satgas Pangan), which he claimed knew nothing about the ongoing the price increase.
The government has set ceiling prices for medium-quality rice according to region: Rp 9,450 (70 US cents) per kilogram in Java, Lampung, South Sumatra, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi; Rp 9,950 per kg in the rest of Sumatra, Kalimantan and East Nusa Tenggara; and Rp 10,250 per kg in Maluku and Papua.
However, Bank Indonesia’s price tracking website hargapangan.id showed a gradual increase in rice price in many parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI) president Said Iqbal said the rice import decision would further weaken the farmers’ purchasing power due to lower incomes in the upcoming harvest seasons due to the decrease of their commodity price. (jlm/bbn)