Surabaya, East Java (ANTARA) - Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Erick Thohir said that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has encouraged state-owned companies, regional governments, and ministries to establish staple goods bazaars to help people prepare for the potential impact of El Niño.

"President Jokowi reminded us about the potential impact of El Niño, which may bring a prolonged dry season to Indonesia. He encouraged us to open bazaars," Thohir said during his visit to a bazaar organized by his ministry in Surabaya, East Java, on Sunday.

El Niño is a natural phenomenon that can pose weak to moderate threats, disrupting water supply and potentially leading to drought and a decline in agricultural food production activities.

Thohir said that his ministry organized the bazaar as a proactive measure to anticipate a reduction in production, especially food, due to El Niño.

He added that Jokowi has instructed relevant parties to ensure sufficient rice stocks.

"The price of rice is increasing again, so the President will begin distributing (food aid) in September, October, and November," Thohir revealed.

The government, through the state-owned logistic company Bulog, will provide 10 kilograms of rice per month for the underprivileged.

"Rice was distributed yesterday for three months to underprivileged individuals. This bazaar also offers staple goods at affordable prices," he said.

At the bazaar, the public can exchange coupons worth Rp40,000 for a staple goods package consisting of 5 kilograms of rice, 1 kilogram of sugar, and 1 liter of cooking oil, equivalent to around Rp96,000 (US$6.3).

Thohir expressed the hope that the staple food bazaar can be held in other cities and districts throughout Indonesia.

He also mentioned that the government will maintain the stability of food prices.

"Yesterday, the president checked the price of shallots in Sukabumi, and it was stable. The price of chicken meat was also more affordable, but there was an increase in garlic and chili prices," he informed.

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Translator: Abdul H/Naufal Ammar I, Resinta S
Editor: Anton Santoso
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