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Indonesia will import more than 2mn tons of rice this year, Bulog says

Tempo - January 12, 2024

Riani Sanusi Putri, Jakarta – State Logistics Agency (Bulog) president director Bayu Krisnamurthi said that the government agreed to assign them with importing 2 million tons of rice this year. Bayu said that the decision was made based on the food balance to maintain the balance of the government's rice reserve (CBP) stock.

"As of now, the food balance for rice is 2 million tonnes. We have discussed it, but it may be more than 2 million tonnes," Bayu said at Bulog's office in Jakarta on Thursday, January 11.

He said the 2 million ton import assignment had not been realized because of transportation problems. He explained that the silting in the Suez Canal and the conflict in the Middle East had hampered the delivery of imported food supplies. "It's not easy for us to get ships and containers."

In addition, there is still the process of importing rice from the remaining assignments from last year amounting to some 500,000 tons, he said.

However, Bayu ensured that the government's rice reserve stock (CBP) in the Bulog warehouse was safe. He said Bulog would ensure a CBP supply of 1.3 million tons for market operations and rice aid distribution starting in January.

Despite the task to import rice, Bayu said he was pessimistic that rice prices this year would decline anytime soon. According to him, rice prices will still soar this year because domestic production has not yet recovered, production costs are still high, especially fertilizers, and the policies of rice-producing countries to protect supplies.

Previously, President Joko Widodo said that the rice import assignment policy was still difficult to stop because domestic production was not enough to meet needs.

During the 2024 Indonesian Economic Outlook held by the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, Jokowi confirmed that Indonesia would import one million tons of rice from India and two million tons from Thailand to ensure the safety of Indonesia's national rice reserves in 2024.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1820304/indonesia-will-import-more-than-2mn-tons-of-rice-this-year-bulog-say