Jakarta – Indonesia is expecting its rainy season to start in November, a month later than usual, after a longer dry season caused by the El Nino weather pattern, its meteorology agency (BMKG) said on Friday.
Indonesia's dry season is forecast to be the most severe since 2019, peaking this month and in October, bringing a threat to harvests and a risk of forest fires.
BMKG predicted a rainy season starting November in more than 60% of Indonesia including most provinces in Java and Sulawesi islands, adding rainfall would be relatively normal but the agriculture sector would be impacted.
"It's rather a problem because most farmers already had a timeline on their harvest but now the rainy season will come late," BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati told a press conference.
Long hot weather has disrupted rice production and pushed up rice prices.
Those could hit a multi-year high of 15,000 rupiah ($0.98) per kg, according to Zaid Zulkifly Rasyid, chairman of a cooperative of rice wholesalers in Indonesia's largest market, Cipinang.
The government has said it would launch an 8 trillion rupiah ($521.51 million) social assistance programme to get more rice to 21 million lower income households from September to November.
BMKG also warned the peak of the wet season would come in January and February next year with a risk of landslides and floods in some provinces, including as South and Central Kalimantan, Lampung, North Sulawesi, and North Maluku.
Indonesia, which is prone to floods, landslides and sometimes cyclones during its rainy season, will hold its presidential and legislative election in February.
[Reporting by Ananda Teresia; Editing by Martin Petty.]