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Economist laments food inflation turning volatile

Tempo - August 15, 2022

Riani Sanusi Putri, Jakarta – Center of Economics and Law Studies (Celios) director Bhima Yudhistira on Sunday believes the rising prices of food have reached the worrying level of volatile food inflation, as he noted the inflation of this commodity up until July 2022 on a year-on-year basis reached 11 percent.

The inflation percentage logged by food commodities had even exceeded the general inflation by nearly 5 percent. "This is a problem that needs to be looked into," said Yudhistira to Tempo on August 14.

Moreover, Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo once said there are 62 countries that are heading towards the path of a food crisis caused by global disruptions, mainly the geopolitical tensions sparked by the Russia and Ukraine crisis.

According to him, Indonesia will be affected as the country still depends on wheat imports from the two countries and even predicts that the price of instant noodles, a daily staple for most Indonesians, will triple in price because of it.

As the largest wheat importing country in the world, according to Bhima, the problem is not only inflation but also an increase in the poverty line. Bhima said that if, for example, the price of instant noodles tripled as Syahrul projected, the new demographic of poor people would increase as the poverty line would adjust even higher.

"Previously, people who are situated in the vulnerable middle class could be entered into a new category of poverty," he explained.

According to him, there are three ways to overcome or at least mitigate this food crisis. By securing the supply of imported food, substitute the imported goods with locally-made ones and reduce the dependency on imported food commodities.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1622821/economist-laments-food-inflation-turning-volatil