Jakarta (ANTARA) - Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi said he has prepared a mitigation policy to address the rising prices of soybean that will be announced next week.

"Now, we have prepared a mitigation policy for the (increasing) price of soybeans. We will make a decision next week, and later, I will announce the policy," Lutfi informed here on Thursday.

There were several reasons that have triggered the current global surge in soybean prices, the trade minister said. One of them is the El Nina climate phenomenon, which has disrupted soybean production in Argentina and South America, the main soybean producers, he informed.

This has limited soybean supply significantly, causing its price to escalate, he said.

In addition, there has been a shift in animal feed in China, where five billion pigs are now being fed soybeans, he noted.

"The very high demand is causing very high prices, then it has inflated the price of soybeans in Indonesia," Lutfi pointed out.

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Soybean cultivation in Indonesia is in a good condition, he said. However, the domestic supply of soybeans is only 500 thousand–750 thousand tons per year, far below the country's requirement of 3 million tons per year, he added.

Hence, 80–90 percent of the national soybean needs are still fulfilled through imports from several countries, the minister said.

The rise in soybean prices has also impacted the prices of fermented food products, such as tofu and tempe, he noted.

Director of domestic trade at the ministry, Oke Nurwan, earlier estimated that the price of tempe would reach around Rp10,300–Rp10,600 per kg due to the soybean price surge. Meanwhile, the price of tofu would range between Rp52,450–Rp 53,700 per board or Rp650–Rp700 per piece, he said.

Meanwhile, Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) researcher Nisrina Nafisah said that the government needs to diversify the countries it imports soybean from to reduce the inflation impact and stabilize the domestic price of soybeans.

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Translator: Sella G, Kenzu T
Editor: Suharto
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