Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) instructed relevant ministries and institutions to ensure the smooth distribution of rice to markets, Head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas) Arief Prasetyo Adi stated in Jakarta on Monday.

Adi noted that the president had ordered him and several ministers to work together with state-owned logistics company Bulog to distribute rice stocks stored in Jakarta to modern and traditional markets to deal with rice scarcity.

"Currently, the Cipinang Central Market is storing over 34 thousand tons of rice. We need to distribute these stocks to traditional as well as modern markets. We are tasked with 'flooding the markets' (with rice)," he remarked at the Presidential Palace.

Adi revealed that he, along with Bulog President Director Bayu Krisnamurthi and State-owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, would inspect the Cipinang Central Market to ensure the smooth running of rice distribution from ports to the central market and retailers at other markets.

"Today, we will discuss this matter in a bid to distribute rice stocks to those at the retail level," he stated.

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He then emphasized that the government's rice aid program does not adversely affect rice stocks at markets, adding that the program has been on temporary halt since February 8 to respect the holding of the 2024 General Election.

Earlier, the Indonesian Retail Entrepreneurs Association (Arprindo) complained about difficulties in receiving premium-grade rice in the five-kilogram package.

According to Arprindo Chairman Roy Nicholas Mandey, a scarcity of premium-grade rice was being faced in modern retail stores as a result of producers pegging rice prices at a high level.

He noted that a significant increase in prices was recorded in premium-grade rice, from around Rp13 thousand (US$0.83) per kilogram to about Rp16 thousand-Rp17 thousand (US$1.02-US$1.08) per kg.

Related news: Food aid temporarily suspended to respect election stages: Bapanas

Translator: Yashinta D, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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