Kudus (ANTARA) - The Trade Ministry is planning to initiate a basic food assistance program worth Rp8 trillion (around US$526.7 million) for underprivileged people to anticipate any potential long drought caused by El Nino.

"The program will be launched during October–December 2023," said Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan in Kudus, Central Java, on Wednesday.

For now, the stocks of food in the market are sufficient, and inflation is just 3 percent, he said.

Zulkifli said that the ministry has also held a meeting about rice availability. The government is making preparations so that there are no problems regarding the supply of basic commodities.

He noted that the prices of a number of food commodities are forecast to rise because of the impact of El Nino, so the government has prepared the assistance program.

"If the prices of various commodities in the market go up excessively, the government will provide subsidized transportation assistance. If the price of corn goes up, it will also be subsidized," he informed.

El Nino is the phenomenon of the warming of sea surface temperatures to above-normal levels in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean.

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Translator: Asri Mayang Sari
Editor: Anton Santoso
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