Bandarlampung (ANTARA) - Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan urged regional governments to continue to hold cheap market operations in order to maintain the stability of rice prices in the market.

"I would like to ask district, municipal, and provincial trade offices to continue to ensure stock availability (of rice) by holding market operations in the hopes of lowering the price," he remarked in Lampung Province on Wednesday.

The minister made the statement while personally supervising the holding of a cheap market operation activity at the Natar Traditional Market in South Lampung District.

Minister Hasan affirmed that the central government had been consistently conducting cheap market operations by collaborating with related parties, including state-owned logistics company Bulog and the National Food Agency (Bapanas).

The government is also expediting the process to distribute 10 kilograms of rice aid each to as many as 21.3 million beneficiary families in order to maintain price stability of the commodity, he revealed.

"The president has been pushing for the intensification of market operations. Today, we are holding one in Lampung. Earlier, we have also held such operations in East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, and other regions," he stated.

Hasan then called on all state apparatuses to take concrete actions to assist the president in helping the people to meet their need for rice.

"We should not relax while the president is working hard," he stressed.

Furthermore, the trade minister reminded Bulog to ensure its capability of meeting the merchants' demand for rice.

"Bulog must meet the markets' demand for rice without a hitch," he emphasized.

Hasan then noted that based on his review conducted on the Natar Traditional Market, the prices of several commodities had been stable, while the prices of chili, shallots, and eggs had declined.

During the market operation activity, the government offered 500 sacks of five-kilogram rice to the people at a subsidized price of Rp51.5 thousand (US$3.35) per sack.

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Translator: Ruth I, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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