The Jakarta Post
The Trade Ministry has issued a permit for State Logistics Agency (Bulog) to import an additional 500,000 tons of rice this year after it previously issued a permit to import the same amount earlier this year.
“We have issued an import agreement of 500,000 tons of rice. It is the second [rice import],” said the ministry’s international trade director general, Oke Nurwan, in Jakarta on Tuesday as reported by tempo.co.
He said the import permit was issued during the recent meeting of ministers under the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister.
The rice, which will be imported from several countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, India and Pakistan, is expected to curb the price of rice, which is still above the price ceiling decided by the government, the official said.
“We’ve given Bulog until July to import the 500,000 tons of rice,” Oke said.
The government imported 500,000 tons of rice earlier this year to push down the increasing price of the commodity.
The decision to import the commodity sparked controversy because the Agriculture Ministry had initially claimed that the country had produced an adequate amount of rice to meet local demand.
The Agriculture Ministry’s Food Sovereignty Agency head, Agung Hendiardi, said the decision to import additional rice was to guarantee the availability of the commodity in the market because the retail price was still higher than the price ceiling of Rp 9,400 per kilogram in the regions of Java, Lampung, South Sumatra, Bali. West Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi. (bbn)