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Imported rice arrival eases price surge in West Java

Jakarta Globe - March 2, 2024

Elan Suherlan, Subang – A shipment of 66,000 tons of imported rice from Vietnam arrived at Patimban Port, Subang, West Java, on Friday. This influx of rice is part of an initiative to stabilize the surging rice prices in the region.

Commissioner Irfan Rifai of the Food Task Force at the National Police Headquarters stated that the unloading process went smoothly, and the imported rice would be distributed to the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) in West Java.

The Food Task Force team claimed that there has been a decrease in rice prices ranging from Rp 500 to Rp 1,000 per kilogram even before imports. They anticipate that this declining trend will persist in the lead-up to the fasting month of Ramadan this month.

"There will be several more ships bringing rice. Previously, we have observed a decrease in premium rice prices, especially in Bandung," he added.

In February 2024, rice prices reportedly reached a historic peak, as stated by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), occurring just a month before the start of Ramadan.

Compared to February 2023, the average rice prices in mills for premium, medium, and lower quality rice each increased by 22.91 percent, 25.32 percent, and 30.53 percent in February 2024.

In February, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) reported a 0.37 percent monthly inflation. Year-on-year inflation stood at 2.75 percent, and calendar-year inflation at 0.41 percent. The upswing was primarily propelled by a notable escalation in food prices, particularly affecting staples like rice and red chili.

Industry experts attribute the surge in staple food prices to adverse weather conditions, including the El Nino climate phenomenon, coupled with reduced rice production due to shortages in fertilizer supply. However, the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) is investigating the possibility of collusion or cartel practices among industry players within the distribution chain as a potential cause for the price hike.

In a cabinet meeting held on Monday, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo called upon his ministers to address the rising food prices ahead of the Ramadan (fasting month) in March. Jokowi has given the green light to Bulog to import 2 million tons of rice from Thailand to meet domestic demands. In January and February, domestic rice output was 2.8 million tons less than the national demand.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/business/imported-rice-arrival-eases-price-surge-in-west-jav