Jakarta (ANTARA) - National Food Agency (Bapanas) Head Arief Prasetyo Adi stated that the 2.8 million tons deficit of national rice supply during January-February 2024 period due to the impact of El Nino will be fulfilled through imports.

"The two (deficit) months, January and February, lacked 2.8 million tons as a result of El Nino, but we will cover it with the carry-over (remaining import) from 2023 and importation in 2024," Adi stated here on Thursday.

Earlier, the agency head had attended a limited meeting with President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) at the Presidential Palace.

Based on the Statistics Indonesia (BPS) report, he explained that the deficit of 2.8 million tons of rice is calculated based on the national average rice demand of around 2.5-2.6 million tons per month and the production capacity in early January of less than one million tons due to El Nino.

He noted that President Jokowi had approved the import of two million tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand.

"The condition is that prices at the farmer level should be maintained like today, so hopefully, that deficit can be covered," he remarked.

In addition to rice imports from several producers in Vietnam and Thailand, Adi stated that Bapanas would also follow up on the results of President Jokowi's lobbying to several heads of state regarding additional rice imports.

The president has lobbied leaders of several rice-exporting countries during bilateral meetings to import more rice into Indonesia.

He secured Thailand's commitment to export two million tons of rice to Indonesia after lobbying Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin during the ASEAN-Japan 50th Anniversary Summit in Tokyo, Japan, Sunday (December 17, 2023).

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Translator: Andi F, Yashinfa D, Kenzu
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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