Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo affirmed the import of two million tons of rice assigned to State Logistics Agency (Bulog) aims to strengthen its rice reserves in facing El Nino that causes the dry season.

Widodo made the statement after planting rice along with Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo in Tuban, East Java, Thursday.

"The (import) is for Bulog's reserves because there will likely be a long dry season due to El Nino, so Bulog and the National Food Agency (NFA) prepare by strengthening the rice reserves,” Widodo remarked as monitored through the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel.

According to Widodo, strengthening the government rice reserves or CBP, managed by Bulog, through the import of rice, aims to anticipate competition with other countries for obtaining the commodity when El Nino occurs.

He affirmed that the move aims to prevent difficulties in getting rice later from supplier countries, such as Thailand, Vietnam, India, and Pakistan.

"During the long dry season, we would be confused where to buy rice, whether from Thailand, Vietnam, India, or Pakistan, as the (rice) stocks are not available. El Nino not only happens in Indonesia but also in other countries,” he explained.

Related news: Bulog commences distribution of rice aid to 21.3 million families

Nevertheless, Widodo expected that the rice import will not affect the prices of dry threshed paddy (GKP) at the farmer level.

Earlier, Head of the National Food Agency Arief Prasetyo Adi stated that Indonesia will seek to import two million tons of rice from five countries, including Thailand and India.

As of March 31, 2023, Bulog's rice reserves had reached 245,223 tons, of which 95.29 percent is CBP and 4.71 percent is commercial stock.

Adi remarked that El Nino phenomenon was also one factor that the government had taken into consideration to decide to import rice.

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has forecast that El Nino will occur in the second half of 2023, with a probability of 50-60 percent. Related news: 50-60 percent chance of El Nino happening in 2023's second half: BMKG


Translator: Mentari G, Kenzu
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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