Riani Sanusi Putri, Jakarta – The Indonesian Market Traders Association or Ikappi recorded that prices of several basic commodities increased ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan, including cabai rawit merah or red bird's eye chili, red chili, shallots, garlic, and cooking oil.
"[The price surge] has caused uproars among the community since the past few weeks," said Reynaldi Sarijowan, the Ikappi secretary-general, in a statement to Tempo on Thursday, February 23.
He said the current price of red bird's eye chili is Rp60,000 per kilogram, red chili hit Rp65,000 per kg, shallots at around Rp45 000 per kg, garlic at Rp38 000 per kg, and the subsidized cooking oil of Minyakita at Rp15,000 per liter.
"Prices of meat, eggs, chicken, sugar and salt have also increased quite high in the last few weeks," Reynaldi added.
According to him, the demand has not yet increased ahead of the fasting month. The surge in demand usually occurred 15 days before Ramadan starts. However, the prices of several basic commodities have started to skyrocket.
On this basis, Reynaldi argued that the team established by President Joko Jokowi Widodo has not been able to carry out its duties properly. The team consists of the Trade Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, the National Food Agency or Bapanas, and State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) in the food sector, namely State Logistics Agency (Bulog) and ID Food.
Reynaldi underlined that the government must seriously maintain food stability amid the current food crisis. Food issues, such as a shortage of supply and a price hike of Minyakita and rice have recently boosted inflation.
Ikappi also asked the government to prepare a strategy and conduct actions in the field to contain the issues. Reynaldi pointed out that the most important thing to do is strengthen data collection regarding production and consumer demands, as well as food management. "These can prevent food prices in the fasting month from soaring," he opined.