Let us think that throughout 2019–2020, Indonesia did not import rice, but why it imports rice now? Is there any mafia in it?
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Awakening Party (PKB) has criticized the State Logistics Agency’s (Bulog’s) decision to import 500 thousand tons of rice, saying the move will hurt local farmers.

"The importation of hundreds of thousands of tons of rice will no doubt damage the price of farmer's rice. This involves the life of many people. Don't play with the game," PKB millennial spokesperson Mikhael Sinaga said in a written statement here on Tuesday.

The importation of the staple food in 2022 would also hurt efforts made by President Joko Widodo, who has just received an award from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for Indonesia's success in achieving self-reliance in food production and creating a resilient agricultural system, he added.

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"Let us think that throughout 2019–2020, Indonesia did not import rice, but why it imports rice now? Is there any mafia in it?" he asked.

According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the Agriculture Ministry has ensured that the nation’s rice stocks are safe, he said.

"In fact, data on (rice stocks) at Bapanas (the National Food Agency) and Bulog differs significantly from that at the Agriculture Ministry," he pointed out.

Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan earlier informed that 200 thousand tons of imported rice had arrived at Jakarta's Tanjung Priok Port to replenish Bulog's stocks, which had depleted due to market operations.

According to the minister, importing rice was necessary to maintain the stability of rice prices in the market after the ministry earlier organized market operations based on the Agriculture Ministry's data, which indicated that rice prices had increased to Rp10 thousand (US$0.64) per liter.

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"Nobody wants to import rice if our production is enough. Importing rice will not be necessary if we have the rice," Hasan said, according to a statement released here on December 16, 2022.

Importing rice will provide residents with more choices of rice, he said, adding that residents will be able to select between branded rice, premium quality rice, or Bulog rice at affordable prices.

The decision to import a total of 500 thousand tons of rice -- of which 200 thousand tons have arrived -- is aimed at replenishing Bulog’s rice stocks, the minister explained.

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Translator: Sigit Pinardi, Suharto
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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