Antara, Jakarta – The Indonesian government has officially decided to resume rice imports. Through an assignment letter, the head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas) Arief Prasetyo Adi ordered Perum Bulog to import 2 million tons of rice until December 2023.
The decision to import 2 million tons of rice has also been confirmed by the Minister of Trade, Zulkifli Hasan. "It has been decided at a closed meeting," Zulkifli Hasan told Tempo at the office of the Cooperatives and SME Ministry, Monday, March 27.
In the letter of assignment, which Tempo has a copy of, Arief said that the first batch of 500,000 tons would be imported immediately. He said that the additional rice supply could be used for the rice Food Supply and Price Stabilization (SPHP) program. The imported rice can also be used to provide food assistance to 21.3 million families who are beneficiaries of the government's social aid program.
Arief said that the decision to procure rice from overseas takes into account the interests of domestic producers. According to him, the decision also factored in the aspects of accountability and good governance in accordance with statutory provisions.
"To that end, we have instructed Perum Bulog to continue optimizing the absorption of domestic crops, especially during the March-May 2023 great harvest season," Arief said in the letter.