The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Regency Administrations Association (APKASI) has called on the central government to review its plan to import rice, as it will cause farm-level prices for unhusked rice to drop ahead of the harvest season in the coming weeks.
“Based on the data, facts and aspirations from regents, APKASI calls on the central government to review the rice import plan,” APKASI chairman Mardani H. Maming said in a statement on Wednesday, as reported by Antara news agency.
Mardani, who is the regent of Tanah Bumbu in South Kalimantan, added that without a thorough study on regional rice production, the import policy would harm farmers whose livelihood depended on the agriculture sector.
Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita announced last week that the government would import 500,000 tons of medium-grade rice from Thailand and Vietnam to ease the commodity's price, which had exceeded the government's ceiling price.
Banten's Serang Regent Ratu Tatu Chasanah made a similar statement, saying that the central government needed to listen to the farmers' aspirations before introducing a policy that might affect them directly.
She said the people in her regency would be hard hit by the policy, as they relied on the income they made from rice sales. She added that Serang's harvest season would commence in the third week of January.
North Sumatra's Serdang Berdagai Regent Soekirman echoed her concerns, saying that the harvest season in his regency would start this week. “I am concerned about the rice import plan,” he said. (bbn)