Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - State Logistics Agency (Bulog) revealed that it has set a target of absorbing 16,577 tons of rice from local farmers in Merauke Sub-district, Merauke District, South Papua Province, this year.

The purchase target comprises 16,164 tons of rice for the Public Service Obligation (PSO) scheme and 413 tons for the commercial one, Deputy Head of Bulog-Papua and West Papua Office Dedi Apriliadi stated.

Speaking in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, on Friday, he stated that the agency has, so far, purchased 1,082 tons of medium quality rice for the PSO scheme from local farmers.

The agency buys the commodity at a price of Rp9,950 per kilogram, he remarked.

When asked about Bulog's current rice stocks, he noted that some 50,806 tons are currently stored in the agency's warehouses available in the provinces of Papua, South Papua, Papua Pegunungan, Central Papua, West Papua, and Southwest Papua.

The agency's monthly distribution is recorded at 11,118 tons, he stated, adding that rice stocks could be maintained for four up to six months.

Related news: Rice stocks for Papua, W Papua at 53,284 tons: Bulog

In the meantime, Head of Indonesia's National Food Agency (Bapanas) Arief Prasetyo Adi had assured earlier that the stocks of strategic food commodities are safe until the end of 2023 in the midst of El Nino climate pattern.

Adi noted that Bapanas has tasked Bulog with absorbing 2.4 million tons of rice, 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 remarked that in October, November, and December 2023, the government will provide rice assistance to beneficiary families, with each beneficiary family receiving 10 kilograms of rice.

He explained that the provision of 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: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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