Jakarta (ANTARA) - The State Logistics Agency (Bulog) has begun distributing the second round of rice assistance to 21.3 million families in 38 provinces.

"We do not wish any delay between the first and second phase distribution, considering that rice is a basic need for the community and consumed every day,” said Arief Prasetyo Adi, head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas), on Wednesday.

On May 2, 2023, the first day of the second round of rice aid distribution, Bulog provided 1,680 tons of rice to 168 thousand families.

The Bapanas head said that the rice distributed in the first and second rounds was of the same quality.

He further said that his agency used newly supplied rice for the second round of aid distribution.

"We continue to improve our service to make it (assistance disbursement) faster and easier, " Adi added.

The prompt distribution of the aid is aimed at controlling the inflation rate following the Eid al-Fitr celebration on April 22 in Indonesia since rice is one of the commodities that often contribute to inflation, he explained.

The attempt is in line with the directive of President Joko Widodo that the assistance be distributed properly to help the community meet their basic daily needs and control rice prices in the market.

"Currently, we are optimizing two instruments to maintain rice prices at the consumer level,” the Bapanas head stated.

The two instruments include the distribution of rice food assistance and the implementation of market operations or Food Supply and Price Stabilization (SPHP) Program by distributing Bulog's SPHP rice to traditional markets and modern retail, he informed.

Meanwhile, to maintain the price of rice at the farmer level, Adi said that his agency has continued to encourage Bulog to increase its absorption of domestic rice production at the government purchase price (HPP) during the harvest season.

He informed that the Bapanas collaborated with three shipping companies, namely, Bulog subsidiary PT Jasa Prima Logistik, state-run postal company PT Pos Indonesia, and private logistics company PT DNR, to disburse the second round of rice assistance.

Regarding the progress of the first round of rice assistance distribution, 84 percent or 179 thousand tons of the total target of 213 thousand tons of rice has been distributed as of May 2.

The first round of distribution of the aid has reached 90–100 percent in about 20 provinces.

The provinces where the rice assistance disbursement has reached 100 percent are Aceh, Riau Islands, Jambi, Bangka Belitung Islands, South Sumatra, Bengkulu, Lampung, Jakarta, West Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, Papua, West Papua, Southwest Papua, and South Papua.

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Translator: Kuntum Riswan, Uyu Liman
Editor: Anton Santoso
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