The Jakarta Post
The Agriculture Ministry has said it expects rice production to exceed projected consumption in January, February and March, as the harvest season had commenced across the country.
The head of the ministry’s food security agency, Agung Hendriadi, said in a statement released on Thursday that rice stocks would reach 2.8 million tons in January, followed by 5.4 million tons in February and 7.4 million tons in March.
“At a total consumption of 2.5 million tons per month, I can assure that in the next three months, we will record surplus rice stock,” he said as reported by kompas.com.
Agung said that surplus production was estimated at 329,000 tons in January, 2.9 million tons in February and 4.97 million tons in March, adding that the figures were calculated according to the crop area of rice fields.
Farmers had already harvested 854,000 hectares of rice fields to date and were expected to harvest 1.6 million hectares in February and 2.25 million hectares in March.
To ensure food security, Agung added, the farmers were to plant at least 1 million hectares of rice.
“Insya Allah (God willing), with the support of tractors and improvements in irrigation networks, we will be maintain our rice production yield,” he said.
The Agriculture Ministry is among those that have criticized the government's recent decision to import 500,000 tons of rice ahead of the harvest season in order to ease the commodity's price. The imported rice is expected to arrive in late January or early March. (bbn)