Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - State Logistics Agency (Bulog) disclosed on Wednesday that it has 53,284 tons of rice in stock for Papua and West Papua regions.

The stocks are being stored at Bulog warehouses and are adequate for meeting local people's demands for eight months, head of the Bulog-Papua and West Papua Office, Raden Guna Dharma, said.

Therefore, locals need not be worried about the availability of rice, he added.

He also assured of the availability of rice for civil servants as well as military and police personnel in Papua and West Papua regions.

"The current rice stocks are recorded as the biggest ever over the past few years. We do this to make sure that in the future, there will be no problems with late distribution," he said.

To this end, the distribution of rice will be prioritized for mountainous regions considering their challenging conditions, he said, adding that Bulog will also secure 10 tons of imported rice.

The rice will be imported from Thailand and will be shipped directly to Papua instead of Surabaya city in East Java province, he revealed.

In response to the El Nino threat, head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas), Arief Prasetyo Adi, assured that the stocks of strategic food commodities are safe until the end of 2023, ANTARA reported earlier.

Adi noted that for rice, Bapanas has tasked Bulog with absorbing 2.4 million tons of the commodity, an increase from only 990 thousand tons last year.

"Domestic production becomes a priority, so we have to maintain the prices at the farmers' level to be good, and in the downstream, the inflation must be secured well because it will affect the community's purchasing power," he explained.

He said that in October, November, and December 2023, the government will provide rice assistance to 21,353 million beneficiary families, with each beneficiary family receiving 10 kilograms of rice.

He explained that the provision of the rice assistance is a continuation of the earlier food assistance program to the beneficiary families, under which a total of 640 thousand tons of rice was distributed.

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Translator: Qadri P, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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