Riani Sanusi Putri, Jakarta – The Indonesian Farmers Union (SPI) in a written statement on Monday argues that the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) has exposed its weak management of national food reserves and food production cooperation as the agency remains to be open to importing rice at the end of this year.
Henry Saragih, the Chairperson of SPI wrote: "Bulog is an agency that is tasked to manage national food reserves and shows its weaknesses in planning and conducting its role."
This week, the Indonesian government imported a total of 10,000 tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand which will arrive until February of next year until it reaches its goal of 500,000 tons. This decision was taken following two meetings with President Joko Widodo.
The government believes this is a crucial step in adding to the government rice reserves that have continued to deplete. Bulog argues the slimming of reserves is because it did not purchase unhulled rice from local farmers during the months of March up to June this year when farmers undergo grand harvest.
Adding to worsening the situation is the fact that Bulog issued its rice and grain reserves as local farmers were undergoing their grand harvest. Currently, the number of harvests in December is far less than in the middle of the year and reaches prices that tend to exceed the price Bulog is able to afford.
Citing data from Statistics Indonesia, he said the rice production from local farmers this year is more than enough to fulfill the national need for rice.