Jakarta (ANTARA) - State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir has emphasized the government's commitment to eradicating rice hoarding to maintain price stability.

He conveyed this while monitoring a food supply and price stabilization (SPHP) market operation for rice at Cipinang Central Rice Market here on Wednesday.

According to him, the government already has a food task force to carry out law enforcement measures against rice hoarders.

The measures are aimed at handling disruptions in the stability of rice supplies and prices.

Meanwhile, President Director of the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) Budi Waseso said that besides the hoarding of rice, another issue that needs tackling is the counterfeiting of SPHP rice using imported rice.

He explained that the risk lies in the repackaging of imported rice in domestic rice sacks. The imported rice is then sold at premium-quality rice prices, earning the counterfeiters higher profits.

"That is why they (rice prices) have not dropped," he said.

To deal with this, the government is cooperating with the food task force to conduct enforcement and control operations, he informed. The task force will buy rice from sellers randomly and then carry out a laboratory test.

"The direction is criminal punishment," he said.

The laws under which hoarders and counterfeiters can be booked are Law Number 18 of 2012 concerning Food and Law Number 8 of 1999 concerning Consumer Protection.

While monitoring Wednesday's rice market operation, Minister Thohir said that the amount of rice secured by Bulog has reached 1.7 million tons, and it is targeted to increase to 2 million tons in November 2023.

He also informed that the rice stock at Cipinang Central Rice Market has reached 31,410 tons. The figure is lower than the target of 35 thousand tons set by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

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Translator: Putu Indah, Raka Adji
Editor: Sri Haryati
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