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Indonesian rice prices hit record high amid delayed harvest, low supply

Jakarta Post - February 26, 2024

Divya Karyza, Jakarta – Delayed harvests and dwindling supply have sent premium rice prices skyrocketing to a record high, the Indonesia Market Traders Association (IKAPPI) has said.

The average price at the consumer level reached Rp 18,000 (US$1.15) per kilogram on Friday, a 20 percent year-on-year (yoy) increase from the Rp 14,000 per kg recorded last year, IKAPPI said, adding that some of its constituent traders were unable to secure their usual quantities from producers.

The figure exceeded the government price ceiling for premium rice, which hovers around Rp 13,900 per kg for regions in Java and Bali. Premium rice is typically of much better quality than rice that is designated medium-grade.

IKAPPI secretary-general Reynaldi Sarijowan suggested that the government boost production ahead of Ramadan and ensure that subsidized fertilizer was widely available.

"The solution is releasing stocks held by the government, local companies and mills to traditional markets as well as encouraging the National Police to monitor [the process]," Reynaldi said in a statement on Friday.

National Food Agency (Bapanas) data shows that the price of premium rice was Rp 16,270 per kg a week before, on Feb. 16. Last year, the agency recorded a price of Rp 14,990 per kg.

Prices have continued to increase despite the government's efforts to flood the market with supplies of medium-grade rice, labeled as stabilization stock (SPHP), which was procured though a series of imports last year.

In early February, consumers began complaining that rice was scarce in several minimarket chains, particularly in Jakarta.

In the past months, including the lead-up to the Feb. 14 presidential election, President Jokowi disbursed rice aid to the public, contending that this could help push down the market price while helping low-income Indonesians.

IKAPPI went on to say that the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) would have to ensure that rice was disbursed to traditional and retail markets. This included by balancing rice aid with rice supplied to the market.

The prices of other staple foods, such as chilis, shallots and onions have also risen as Ramadan nears, which typically sees an increase in national food consumption.

E-commerce market insight company Comprehensive Price and Analytics System (Compas) said on Friday that the prices of various types of rice had also increased across e-commerce platforms over the last two months.

The average price of rice of various grades increased 22 percent month-to-month (mtm) in January and another 11 percent mtm in February.

The firm concluded that the rice price increases had sent other staple food prices rising, such as konjac, corn, cassava and sweet potato, which can serve as rice substitutes.

The average price of cassava rose 14 percent mtm in January and another 9 percent in February.

The price of corn, meanwhile, rose 8 percent mtm in January and another 24 percent in February.

Prices of sweet potato products have been relatively stable, increasing only 1 percent in February.

Source: https://asianews.network/indonesian-rice-prices-hit-record-high-amid-delayed-harvest-low-supply