Jakarta – The coronavirus outbreak originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan has affected imports of garlic from China, causing the commodity's prices to rocket by more than 40 percent as stocks plummet in Central Java.
Central Java Industry and Trade Agency head Arief Sambodo said on Wednesday the garlic stocks in some of the province's regions are declining as the virus has held up imports from mainland China.
"About 95 percent of the garlic supplies here are imported straight from China and the virus is hampering it. We hope there will be import options from other countries soon," he said, as quoted by kompas.com.
As a result, garlic prices in Central Java jumped to the current Rp 50,000 (US$3.65) per kilogram from the usual Rp 35,000 per kg.
Arief said the local administration is also looking for other options to help lower garlic prices by seeking supplies from local farms in Parakan, Temanggung and Bumijawa, Tegal in Central Java.
"But the supplies from these two regions will be very limited," he said, adding that garlic usually grows in subtropical mountainous areas within a certain temperature range.
The coronavirus, which has killed hundreds of people in China and spread to more than 20 countries, has begun to take a toll not only on Indonesia's commodity imports, but also on exports.
The price of rubber, a key Indonesian export commodity, has dropped sharply in the wake of the outbreak, falling from Rp 9,200 to Rp 7,200 per kg in South Sumatra over the past few weeks as the virus affects trade between Indonesia and China.
Indonesia has also decided to ban imports of live animals from mainland China amid fears of the coronavirus spreading into the Southeast Asian nation, which to date has still recorded no confirmed cases.
As of Feb. 6, the virus has killed at least 563 people and infected more than 28,000 people worldwide, AFP reported. The majority of those cases were within China and concentrated in Hubei province, but two deaths have been confirmed in the Philippines and Hong Kong.
Analysts predict that the virus could reduce China's economic growth by 1 to 2 percent this year as it hampers economic activities in the country. (ris)