According to the reports, the government of Indonesia has begun rice market operations in the capital city Jakarta to curb rice price hikes as it has been observed that domestic rice prices have been increasing over the last one month due to low production and stocks. In this regard, the government is planning to distribute around 300,000 tons of rice and is keen on reducing the price of rice by about 300500 Rupiah per kilogram (around $20 $4 per ton).
It has been indicated that the price of medium class rice had reached a high of Rp 10,330 per kilogram (around $699 per ton) in the beginning of this week from around Rp 10,003 per kilogram (around $677 per ton) last week. While, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), average rice prices stood at around Rp 10.27 million (around $720) per ton in September, up about 1.3% from around Rp 10.14 million (around $740) per ton in August, and up about 15% from their year ago levels of around Rp 8.93 million (around $750) per ton.
However, the President has ruled out imports while assuring of adequate rice stocks till the end of this year. But, the President and the Vice President are divided over rice imports. The Vice president, who revealed that the government would import 1.5 million tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand due to a likely reduction in production, has also warned that too low rice stocks would lead to price hikes and social unrest.
As per data indicated that the rice stocks with Bulog are at around 1.7 million tons and are likely to increase after fresh stocks arrive from the upcoming harvest. In this regard, presently Bulog is silent on the rice import matter and has left the rice imports decision to the government. However, the Agricultural experts are advising the government to get exact estimates on production and act appropriately on imports.