Amelia Rahima Sari, Jakarta – The National Food Agency (Bapanas) in a public discussion on Thursday revealed the country's heavy reliance on imported garlic, which the agency claimed reached 95 percent of the available domestic garlic supply.
"Our reliance on garlic imports is truly incredible," said Bapanas Export and Import Policy Analysis Group Coordinator Retno Utami on May 25.
This situation, Utami said, will cause the market to be heavily affected by cases where domestic or international production drops or stalls, which can cause a severe lack of supply in the market to meet demands.
She said the latest example happened during the Eid al-Fitr festivity where shallot demands skyrocketed as supplies were lacking. "According to our data, the national average price of garlic was at Rp36.000 per kilogram," said Utami suggesting the high prices of the commodity.
At the same event, the chairperson of the Association of Indonesian Onion and Root Vegetable Businesses (Pusbarindo) Antonius Reinhard Batubara lamented the lack of transparency in issuing import permits.
"About 170 companies listed in the RIPH (Recommendation for Import of Horticultural Products) have been issued. And those from the SPI (Import Approval) have issued 35 to 37. So, the rest has yet to be issued," said Antonius to the media crew at the discussion.
Asked about how much garlic the 170 companies submitted to the RIPH, Antonius was unsure of the exact number and suggested the complete data is at the Agriculture Ministry.
"However, the data we have estimated there are 930,000 tonnes," said Antonius.