Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Food Agency (Bapanas) constantly ensures that the availability of rice, a staple food designated as government food reserves (CPP), is fulfilled until the 2024 Elections and 2024 Eid al-Fitr through domestic absorption and imports.

“Mainly, Bulog has a stock of 1.8 million tons, and some more (stock) will enter (again), totaling two million tons. If needed, Bapanas will conduct activities that will top up Bulog’s stock. There is no need to worry,” Head of Bapanas Arief Prasetyo Adi stated after the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss & Waste event in Jakarta on Friday.

Citing Presidential Regulation (Perpres) Number 125 of 2022 on the Enforcement of Government Food Reserves, Adi stated that Bapanas is assigned to strengthen food reserves along with State-Owned Companies (BUMN) in the food sector, such as Bulog and ID FOOD.

The procurement of rice reserves, as stated in the Presidential Regulation, is prioritized from the purchase of domestic production, including purchasing Bulog’s commercial stock. However, overseas procurement is also possible by constantly maintaining domestic producers’ and consumers’ interests.

“Indonesia’s food security is based on food self-sufficiency hence domestic absorption is the number one priority. However, if some production centers, such as Central Java, East Java, West Java, Lampung, South Sulawesi, and West Nusa Tenggara, produce below-average (quantities), an addition is needed,” Adi stated.

“Despite the consequences, we must do it, as long as we have enough food availability,” Adi explained.

Adi remarked that rice farmers are elated, as the price for dried harvested unhusked rice (GKP) is currently high due to limited supply. However, rice millers and sellers find it hard to buy the currently expensive grains.

Hence, Bapanas constantly encourages rice farmers to prepare for the planting period. Thus, when the rainy season comes, the farmers can start farming and prepare themselves for the first harvest of 2024.

“Every miller has 50, 100, (or) 300 employees, so they need GKP. Where does GKP come from? From production, of course. However, El Nino will come, and the Minister of Agriculture stated that there will be a five percent (production) correction. However, we will prepare for the worst,” he stated.

Earlier, Bulog’s Director of Public Service Supply Chain Mokhamad Suyanto ensured that the supply of Government Rice Reserve (CBP), which is handled by Bulog, is within a safe quantity until next year’s harvest.

Bulog urged the public to not harbor concerns about rice availability, as the agency guarantees that rice will be available for the public at an affordable price despite a slight price increase in the market.

Moreover, Bulog is prepared to receive an additional assignment from the government to import another one million tons to strengthen rice reserves until the 2024 harvest.

“As part of preparing (ourselves) to face El Nino and domestic situations until next year’s harvest, we are ready to strengthen the rice stock by maximizing domestic absorption. (We are) also preparing to receive an additional assignment from the government to import another million tons that will strengthen our reserve,” Suyanto stated.

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Translator: Kuntum K, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Sri Haryati
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