Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government extended the distribution of rice assistance to 21,353 million Beneficiary Families (KPM) for the period of October, November, and December 2023.

"This assistance can become a (form of) social protection for low-income families to maintain their purchasing power and efforts to control food inflation ahead of the 2023 Christmas and 2024 New Year," Head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas) Arief Prasetyo Adi stated in Jakarta, Tuesday.

Adi remarked that the additional rice assistance aligned with the results of a limited meeting decision on Increasing Production and the Downstreaming of Food Products on July 10, 2023, in which President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had ordered for the continuation of the rice assistance distribution program based on Bapanas' proposal.

The distribution of rice assistance is a continuation of the food aid distribution program to 21,353 million KPM, with a total of 640 thousand tons of rice assistance, which has been completed in three phases, namely in March, April, and June 2023, Adi remarked.

He stated that the amount of additional rice assistance will be similar to the previous assistance of 10 kilograms per beneficiary that will be disbursed in three stages. In total, the beneficiary will receive 30 kilograms of rice, with assistance coming from the Government's Rice Reserve (CBP) managed by the state-owned logistics firm, Perum Bulog.

According to Adi, the distribution of rice assistance at the end of 2023 would have a positive impact on strengthening the people’s purchasing power and controlling inflation.

Moreover, the government is aware of the potential increase in demand for food during the Christmas and New Year periods, wherein this increase must be anticipated to avoid an increase in food prices, he remarked.

Adi said he will encourage Perum Bulog to continue to absorb rice to increase stock through domestic and foreign procurement. However, he emphasized that the priority for rice procurement must come from domestic production.

"President Jokowi has ordered that at the end of 2023, we must have a rice stock of around 1.2 million tons as our capital to enter 2024. Therefore, we must regulate anticipatory measures to stabilize food supply and prices," he remarked.

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Translator: Kuntum Khaira R, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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