Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution has stated that the government has canceled the import of 600,000 tons of rice.
He explained that as of August, the government had imported 1.4 million tons of rice from the full-year plan to import 2 million tons, while exporting countries could not meet the schedule for the remaining 600,000 tons, decided upon in a coordination meeting in April.
Darmin’s statement was made following an open debate between state-owned logistics company Bulog president director Budi Waseso and Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita on the issue, during which Budi said the country did not need to import rice until June 2019.
Darmin called on all relevant officials not to criticize the rice import decision made during the coordination meeting.
“In my opinion, it is not necessary to have a noisy debate. If we did not import we were in trouble. The decision was made based on careful considerations,” said Darmin on Wednesday as reported by kompas.com.
Previously, Budi explained that Bulog’s warehouses currently stored 2.4 million tons or rice, while another 400,000 tons of imported rice would arrive in October. He estimated that Bulog would be managing up to 3 million tons of rice by year-end as it was purchasing 4,000 tons of unhusked rice from farmers every day.
Based on the Agriculture Ministry projections, Indonesia has produced 13.7 million tons of rice this year. Rice production reached 2.5 million tons in January, 4.7 tons in February and 6.6 tons in March.
However, as of March, Bulog only had a stock of 590,000 to 649,000 tons of rice. (bbn)
The Jakarta Post