Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) disbursed rice assistance directly to beneficiary families in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on Monday.

He said that the distribution of rice assistance aimed to help families cope with rising rice prices caused by crop failures.

"Why do we give this rice aid? Because in all countries, the prices of rice have increased due to failed harvests," Jokowi stated in a press release issued by the Presidential Secretariat.

He explained that crop failure caused by climate change has forced 22 countries to stop rice exports and prioritize rice for domestic needs.

"Therefore, we are finding it difficult to import rice from other countries because their rice is being prioritized for their people," he said.

Jokowi also asked farmers to increase rice productivity.

"If our rice productivity drops like last year, prices automatically rise due to insufficient supply. This has happened in all countries," he said.

The government is providing 10 kilograms of rice per month to around 22 million beneficiaries under the rice aid program.

Jokowi said that the monthly rice assistance will be given until June and may be extended depending on budget availability.

"Ladies and gentlemen, you will receive rice aid in January, February, March, April, May, and June. We can potentially extend this support if budgetary conditions allow," he said.

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Translator: Andi F, Kenzu
Editor: Anton Santoso
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