Caesar Akbar, Jakarta – The House of Representatives' (DPR) Commission VI member and Deputy Chairman of the Legislation Body (Baleg), Achmad Baidowi, questioned the government's plan to import one million tons of rice this year.
The Agriculture Ministry Sec-Gen Momon Rusmono, meanwhile, said that the national rice production will see a surplus of 12.56 million tons by the end of May 2021 as it is experiencing a great harvest season.
"If there is a production surplus, what will be the urgency for rice import? What is the urgent need? How much is the country's demand for rice so that the government opts to import rice? The Trade Ministry must disclose it transparently," said Baidowi in a written statement today, March 17.
He argued that people needed to know the valid data on the rice availability and supply from domestic farmers as well as the domestic needs. "The Trade Ministry should not rush to issue rice import permits."
Baidowi mentioned that the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) recorded remaining rice stocks totaling 275,811 tons from the 2018 procurement of 1,785,450 tons. Of the figure, the quality of 106,642 tons of rice has deteriorated.
"If the rice is not suitable for consumption, the country will incur losses," he remarked, adding that the government must prioritize domestic production to meet the national demand.