President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said that Indonesia will not import medium quality rice this year as production and stocks of rice are sufficient. This statement came in the wake of the latest government estimates that put rice production at 44.3 million tons and consumption at 33.3 million tons in 2016, leaving a surplus. Data from national procurement agency Bulog earlier this year showed Indonesia’s rice stock at 1.73 million tons which was more than double the last year’s reserve of 800,000 tons. “I am grateful and glad that rice stock is stable. If our stock is large, than the speculators would restrain from raising prices,” Jokowi said on Thursday, this week. The president said rice import permits this year would only be given to premium quality or specialty rice. Last year, the country imported 1.2 million tons of premium and medium quality rice to honor contracts made in the previous years.
In 2017 however, the government has declined offers from four world rice producers namely Pakistan, India, Myanmar and Cambodia, to supply rice to Indonesia. “I told them that we do not need to import rice because we have enough reserve,” said the Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita. Indonesian rice consumption is among the highest in the world, with each person consuming 114 kilogram every year along with that of Vietnamese which consumes 191 kilogram, Thailand (147 kilogram), India (78 kilogram) and China (75 kilogram), according to data compiled by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).