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Indonesia: Govt to import rice amid rising prices

Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita has said the government will import 500,000 tons of medium-grade rice from Thailand and Vietnam to calm the commodity’s price, which has been increasing since late 2017 as a result of a supply shortage.

The rice will arrive in late January and will be of a different variety from the local IR 64 variety.

“It could be Japonica or jasmine, and we will import it through PPI,” Enggartiasto told a media briefing on Thursday evening, referring to the state-owned Indonesian Trading Company.

“[Private firms] can sell it with partners, but [sales] must be through the PPI, so the government can monitor the rice supply and distribution,” he added.

If necessary, the rice would also be sold at traditional markets and at modern stores.

The government has set a ceiling price for medium-quality rice according to region: Rp 9,450 (70 US cents) per kilogram in Java, Lampung, South Sumatra, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi; Rp 9,950 per kg in the rest of Sumatra, Kalimantan and East Nusa Tenggara; and Rp 10,250 per kg in Maluku and Papua.

The government said that declining supplies of medium-quality rice had caused the commodity’s price to rise since December.

Bank Indonesia’s price tracking website hargapangan.id shows a gradual increase in the rice price by 4 percent to Rp 11,900 per kg in the from Nov. 8 to Jan. 11 period.

The price for the Medium I grade of rice, which is consumed by low- and middle-income households, increased even more, by 4.4 percent to Rp 12,050 per kg. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/01/12/govt-to-import-rice-amid-rising-prices.html