Drought threats may affect food prices: researcher

Drought threats may affect food prices: researcher

Illustration - A resident walked on the Sangiran Reservoir area in Sumber Bening Village, Bringin District, Ngawi which was dried up due to drought. (Antara Doc)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government would need to seriously address the threat posed by drought as it could lead to the risk of crop failures and furthermore affect food prices, a researcher at he Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) Galuh Octania said.

"The risk of crop failure cannot be separated from drought as most parts of Indonesia has started to experience dry season," Octania said in a written statement received in Jakarta on Sunday.

Hence, she said, the government must be aware of the possibility of soaring food prices.

Octania warned that drought has forced many farmers to choose to idle their land to avoid financial losses.

Establishing food stock might become a solution, she said, but warned that the quality of food commodities would decrease if they are stored for a long period.

"The public will prefer fresh food. This is certainly a potential loss for traders. For this reason, the government can strive for maximum distribution of foodstuffs, provide warehouses with adequate storing technology. Government's cooperation with the private sector can be done to develop this, "he said.

She also added that the government would need to establish an accurate and inter-connected food database to monitor food adequacy and help government institutions in decision making.

"In the end, in addition to the government's efforts to overcome crop failures in Indonesia, precautionary measures must be taken, so that there will be no more food price hike because of the drought," he said.

Previously, the Ministry of Agriculture stated that the impact of drought that has damaged rice fields in various areas during the dry season could be overcome by installing water pumping and making water reservoirs.

In the past three years the central government has distributed 100 thousand pump engines throughout Indonesia.

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