Jakarta – Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaeman has threatened to blacklist garlic importers whom he suspected of playing with the prices of the commodity, which caused them to skyrocket prior to the fasting month of Ramadan.
He said all importers had the responsibility to decrease garlic prices from Rp 46,000 (US$3.24) per kilogram to less than Rp 25,000 per kilogram.
"If they make no commitment, [...] we will blacklist them. They will be prohibited from importing garlic," Amran said in Jakarta on Sunday, adding that 14 garlic importers had signed an agreement to maintain garlic prices under Rp 25,000.
Tempo.co reported that the prices of garlic at traditional markets in Jakarta were between Rp 70,000 and Rp 100,000 on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Jakarta city administration reported through its official website that the average price of garlic was nearly Rp 60,000 as of Saturday. It was among 37 commodities that had prices increase between Rp 8,000 and Rp 10,000.
"We call on every importer who has signed an accord [with the ministry] to take responsibility to keep the prices down. [...] Otherwise, we will issue a blacklist," Amran said.
On Sunday, Amran had also visited Kramat Jati Market in East Java to supply it with nearly 116 tons of garlic in a bid to push prices back down to Rp 25,000 per kg.
Since last year, Amran said, that the Agriculture Ministry had blacklisted 56 importers for manipulating garlic prices. (bbn)