"We cannot allow imports to reduce the price of garlic in the market. More than 50 percent of the garlic is imported," Hartati noted here on Thursday.
The government must probe the cause of the high price of garlic in the market.
If it is purely due to the rising demand, the supply of garlic should be increased.
"However, this is related to demand and supply," she pointed out.
In addition, domestic production is unable to meet the demand for garlic.
Hence, conducting imports has become the solution to meet the demand for garlic in a bid to maintain the price of the commodity.
"The government should not allow imports to affect the interests of local farmers," she remarked.
The government had earlier issued a ministerial regulation on the imports of horticulture products, including garlic, on the list of products, under the government`s import control mechanism.
Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita remarked that the issuance of Ministerial Regulation No. 30 of 2017 aimed to revise the previous regulation, especially on the import of garlic.
"Ministerial Regulation No. 30 of 2017 is a revision of Ministerial Regulation No. 71 of 2015 that included garlic in the list of commodities under the government`s import control mechanism," he stated.
Under the regulation, the import of some horticulture products could only be handled by companies holding an Importer Identification Number (API) and state-owned firms specially tasked by the state enterprises minister.
Holders of the General Importer Identification Number (API-U) as well as Producer Importer Identification Number (API-P) should submit their electronic applications to the minister.
In addition, they should already have the Import Recommendation of Horticulture Product (RIPH) from the Agriculture Ministry.
"Importers that hold API-U or API-P should have the RIPH," the minister stated.
Fresh potatoes, onions, garlic, and some fresh vegetables are among the commodities to not be imported.