Basic food stocks to suffice until fasting month: Ministry

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government has made assurance that basic food stocks are adequate to last until the upcoming fasting month and vowed to keep the prices at a stable level, stated Gardjita Budi, an agriculture ministrys official.

"The people are urged to stay calm as we guarantee that the stocks of basic food commodities will last until the fasting month," Budi, who is head of the food resilience agency of the agriculture ministry, stated during a farmers shop program here on Thursday.

He remarked that there will be no shortage of basic necessities, including chickens and eggs. However, he admitted that the stocks of meat could not as yet be met maximally.

"We do not want the prices to rise sharply, reaching 20 to 30 percent above the normal level," he emphasized.

The agriculture ministrys official affirmed that the government would do its best to prevent extreme fluctuations in prices. To this end, the government will offer an opportunity to small traders to directly sell their products, so that these items would not be monopolized by big traders.

It was earlier reported that the Ministry of Agriculture would monitor the chili production in the run-up to the post-fasting Eid el-Fitr, or Lebaran festivities, to ensure the availability of stocks, so that the prices would not rise too high and would also not disadvantage the farmers.

"The fasting month is approaching soon, and the demand for chili is expected to increase, so the government will take anticipatory steps," Director General for Horticulture of the Ministry of Agriculture Spudnik Sujono Kamino stated in Central Java, last Friday.

The fasting month will start on June 6, 2016.

Kamino stated that the chili crop was planted during the dry season, which began in 2015, to counter any shortage of stocks.

With this move, the prices of various types of chili such as the curly chili and cayenne pepper, whose prices had once reached Rp40 thousand per kilogram, have now become stable at Rp23 thousand to Rp26 thousand per kilogram, he remarked.(*)