Jakarta (ANTARA) - Head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas), Arief Prasetyo Adi, stated on Monday that the government is implementing a number of programs, including food aid, to counter the rising trend in rice prices.

Some 640 tons of rice must be distributed to 21.3 million beneficiary families in three months, he said.

“This task is given by the President to Bapanas and the National Logistics Agency (Bulog). We should not take it lightly,” Adi emphasized during the Simultaneous Cheap Food Movement event in Jakarta.

He pointed out that Bapanas is also running the Food Supply and Prices Stabilization Program (SPHP), which involves the distribution of affordable premium-quality rice through modern retail stores and traditional markets.

As part of this program, 9,000 tons of rice have been distributed at the Cipinang Rice Wholesale Market in Jakarta.

Adi further noted that President Joko Widodo has instructed Bulog to distribute 200,000 tons of rice through rice mills across the country to stabilize prices.

In respons to the surge in sugar prices, Adi proposed one of the solutions to be expediting the realization of sugar imports, which have so far only reached 26 percent of this year's target of 1 million tons.

He also mentioned that in order to curb the rise in cayenne pepper prices, Bapanas has requested the state food holding company ID FOOD to coordinate with production centers to distribute their surplus to other areas.

The distribution cost can be obtained from Bapanas or regional governments using food contingency funds, he added.

Statistics Indonesia had earlier reported an increase in the prices of rice, sugar, and cayenne pepper during the third week of October.

Related news: Food production still good despite El Nino impact: President Jokowi
Related news: Deep dive into the government's scheme to handle food crisis

Translator: Kuntum, Lutfia, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Anton Santoso
Copyright © ANTARA 2023