Riani Sanusi Putri, Jakarta – Head of the Indonesian Farmers Union (SPI) chairperson Hendry Saragih in a statement to Tempo on Tuesday voiced strong rejection against the government's plan to enact rice imports through the State Logistics Agency (Bulog). He argues that it goes against Law No. 18/2022 overseeing food.
According to the law, he said, imports on the commodity are currently not permitted if domestic production is still sufficient. The adequacy of the stock had previously been conveyed by the Ministry of Agriculture.
"So you can't import rice. Bulog has not fulfilled it. This is a mistake. Bulog must rely on rice that is already available among the public," Henry said on Tuesday, November 22.
According to Henry, farmers are currently working hard to increase production and maintain food reserves. Henry hoped that the National Food Agency (Bapanas) would increase the number of storage warehouses during the harvest season, not during the middle of the year or during current small harvests.
In contrast to the Ministry of Agriculture's claim, Bulog previously felt that domestic rice reserves did not meet the government's target of 1.2 million tons.
In fact, the rice stock calculated by the state-owned company is rice reserves in the central government and fails to consider the supply in regional governments, both provincial, district, and city.
The President Director of Perum Bulog, Budi Waseso, explained that the current supply held by Bulog amounts to 625,000 tons of rice in the country. While 500,000 tons of commercial rice are located abroad.
"We can withdraw the rice supply in foreign countries at any time if the domestic supply runs out. The point is that there is no problem with rice supplies," Waseso said in a written statement on Friday, November 18.