Farmers stage rally against planned rice imports

Farmers stage rally against planned rice imports

Illustration. Traditional farmers harvest rice using machines in Lamlhom village, Lhoknga, Aceh Besar, Aceh, on Saturday (20/1/2018). Rice harvest that began in some parts of Aceh was expected to suppress the price volatility of rice. (ANTARA /Ampelsa) ()

Pati, C Java (ANTARA News) - Hundreds of farmers in Sukolilo sub-district, Pati district, Central Java, staged a rally on Monday to protest against the government`s plan to import rice, stating that it will lower local rice prices.

The farmers who staged the rally in Pati Square carried posters, which read "What is behind the rice import? Farmers in Sukolilo sub-district reject the rice import. Let us reject together the policy, which causes misery to farmers."

"We are extremely worried if the plan to import rice is realized, as we are entering the harvest season," one of the demonstrator, Sukardi, noted.

He added that the government should support farmers because it aims to create self-reliance in rice production.

The plan to import rice may cause psychological pressure to middlemen, and they may lower the selling price of farmers` unhusked rice, he revealed.

Without rice import, the selling price of unhusked rice will automatically fall due to the harvest season, he explained.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo stated on Saturday (Jan 20) that the province needs no imported rice, as the harvest season is expected soon.

"We do not need imported rice. Give it to the other regions that need it," Pranowo remarked, during his impromptu visit to the Legi Market in Solo, Central Java.

To ensure that imported rice will not enter Central Java, the provincial government will supervise all ports and entry points in the province, he noted.

The step should be taken to avoid a slump in the price of the commodity, as the province will enter the harvest season soon, he explained.

"We will soon enter the harvest season. Some farmers in Grobogan District have harvested their rice fields and so have those in the districts of Kudus and Sragen. The harvest season has begun (in several parts of the province). The National Logistics Agency (Bulog) is ready to buy unhusked rice from the farmers," he revealed.

During a work visit to Tegal District, Central Java, on Jan 15, President Joko Widodo had spoken of a plan to import 500 thousand tons of rice to strengthen the nation`s stocks.

Reported by Akhmad Nazaruddin Lathif