We must take advantage of rain in some areas
Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) urged Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo to boost rice production to maintain national rice stocks ahead of the El Nino phenomenon expected to occur in the third quarter of 2023.

El Nino is a natural phenomenon of warming sea surface temperatures to above-normal levels in the central Pacific Ocean. The phenomenon can increase the potential for cloud growth in the central Pacific Ocean and reduce rainfall in the Indonesian region.

"President Jokowi asked the agriculture minister to boost rice production. We must take advantage of rain in some areas. We can still plant rice seeds and harvest them in the next 110 days," Head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas) Arief Prasetyo Adi stated after attending a meeting chaired by President Jokowi at the Jakarta Presidential Palace, Monday.

Adi noted that Jokowi also ordered President Director of State Logistics Agency (Bulog) Budi Waseso to continue to absorb rice produced by farmers.

The government has also secured rice procurement from imports of two million tons for 2023, though only 500 thousand tons have been realized, Adi pointed out.

During the January-July 2023 period, Bulog distributed rice reserves, comprising around 639 thousand tons for food assistance to 21 million Beneficiary Families (KPM) and another 600 thousand tons to stabilize food supply and prices.

Currently, the government's rice reserves at Bulog reach 600 thousand tons, Adi revealed.

Apart from rice, the president also urged Bulog to maintain the availability of other staple foods, namely corn and soybeans, he remarked.

According to Adi, the president is paying greater attention to corn availability. Hence, Bulog must be able to maintain the availability of corn and its price, especially the price of feed for livestock, in order to maintain the price of other commodities, such as eggs.

"Corn can be used for food and feed. The price of corn, as animal feed, will affect the price of chicken and eggs," he stated.

On the same occasion, Bulog Director Budi Waseso noted that his side continues to absorb domestic food production. Moreover, Bulog will absorb corn production from crops in Papua.

"While progressing, we are also absorbing domestic food production," he remarked.

The meeting, chaired by President Jokowi on Monday afternoon, also discussed the downstream process of food products.

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Translator: Indra Arief P, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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