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Bapanas chief defends decision to raise rice price

Jakarta Globe - March 18, 2024

Mita Amalia Hapsari, Jakarta – Arief Prasetyo Adi, the Head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas), defended his decision to raise the maximum retail price (HET) of premium rice to ensure sufficient rice stocks in the market.

"We have adjusted the previous HET from Rp 13,900 (89 cents) per kilogram to Rp 14,900 until March 23 to ensure rice availability," said Arief following a closed-door meeting with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Monday.

In the past month, rice supplies have been disappearing from modern retailers. Existing regulations on the highest retail price compel modern retailers to comply, refraining from selling rice above the HET. However, the current market prices have surpassed the HET.

However, Arief anticipates prices to stabilize as Indonesia enters the harvest season.

"We are gearing up for the March-April harvest as the national average rice price stabilizes around Rp 6,700 per kilogram," Arief noted.

Previously, the government, through Bapanas, decided to temporarily relax the HET for premium rice from March 10 to March 23, 2024.

Arief said that the HET increase would not overly burden the populace, citing the government's provision of free rice aid to 8 percent or 22 million Indonesians.

He said that the government is distributing 10 kilograms of free rice to 22 million beneficiary families (KPM) until June 2024.

Furthermore, Arief mentioned the government's implementation of the Cheap Food Movement program to assist people in accessing staple foods at affordable prices.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/business/bapanas-chief-defends-decision-to-raise-rice-pric