Minister ensures rice stocks safe amid COVID-19 pandemic

Minister ensures rice stocks safe amid COVID-19 pandemic

Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo

From our national food balance, we actually have a pretty good balance that is well-controlled and quite available
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo has made assurance of rice stocks being safe in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, with reserves sufficing for the subsequent few months.

"From our national food balance, we actually have a pretty good balance that is well-controlled and quite available," Yasin stated during a teleconference monitored from Jakarta on Sunday.

The minister affirmed that the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, had guaranteed food supply to the public, so that food stocks are available for 267 million people in Indonesia.

The minister remarked that currently, Indonesia’s food balance had recorded a surplus of some 3.5 million tons of rice reserves, while during the period from February to May, 12.4 million tons of rice were produced in paddy fields.

If the stock is added at the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) and in the mills, the rice stock will total 15 million tons.

Yasin pointed to the three approaches of optimistic, moderate, and pessimistic in the national food scheme by taking into account the condition of land to produce rice and aspects of distribution to the community.

From the optimistic side, the minister revealed that the national rice stocks reached 15 million tons while 7.6 million tons were needed during the February-May 2020 period. In such a scenario, over seven million tons would be remaining.

Through a moderate approach, he explained that from the 3.5 million tons of existing stock and the scheme of rice production capability down four percent, from 12.4 million tons, only 11 million tons were left, while if the requirement for rice rose to 7.6 million to 7.9 million tons, around seven million tons of rice would still be remaining.

Yasin noted that in line with the pessimistic approach, with a stock of 3.5 million tons and production of 11.2 million tons while national rice requirements reaching 8.3 million tons, six million tons of stock will be available until the end of May 2020.

"Stocks are safe until the fasting month and Eid al-Fitr. We have validated the data with the regions," he stated.

Indonesia's Central Bank (BI) has projected the country’s inflation rate to rise to 0.18 percent, mark-to-market (MTM), in April 2020 as compared to that in the previous month.

Thus, the year-to-date (ytd) inflation rate would touch 0.94 percent and year-over-year (yoy) inflation rate, 2.78 percent, according to BI.

The calculation is based on a price survey conducted by the bank in the last week of this month, executive director of BI’s Communication Department, Onny Widjanarko, noted in a statement received here on Friday.

Onions remain the biggest contributors to the inflation rate, followed by gold jewelry, oranges, sugar, and mineral water.

BI will intensify coordination with the government and other related authorities to monitor the dynamic rate, which is currently being affected by the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
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