According to the reports, it has been informed that the Indonesian government is carrying on discussions with the governments of Thailand and Vietnam over possible rice imports amid concerns of lower production due to extending drought conditions. The Trade Minister told the House of Representatives that the government has decided to import rice in this year to ensure adequate stocks and to curb any price hikes. It was also assured that the government’s rice import plan would not affect farmers’ incomes as the stocks would not be released into the market.
Further, the government is also keen on achieving self-sufficiency in rice production in this year and will be avoiding imports. Even last month, the Agriculture Minister observed that the drought conditions are unlikely to have impact on rice production. However, the decision to import rice has been taken after the Bulog stocks fell to around 1.7 million tons. In this context, according to the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs it was stated that the decision to import would be taken after looking at the harvests, which will continue till the end of October 2015. Further, the Indonesian rice production is likely to be impacted by a drought-inducing El Nino phenomenon, which is expected to be stronger than that experienced in the 1997-1998 period.