Jakarta (ANTARA) - Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman pledged on Tuesday to step up the rate of rice production in Indonesia in an effort to address the increase in prices of the staple food.

"We will boost the production, as we are aware that an increase in production is critical to suppressing the prices of rice," he said after a meeting with President Joko Widodo in Jakarta.

He noted that Indonesia is not the only country experiencing significant increases in rice prices, calling the price spike a global phenomenon.

Sulaiman reported that since December last year, the government has been successful in encouraging farmers to plant rice on around 4 million hectares, with each hectare expected to produce 5–8 tons.

From December 2023 to January 2024, 3.2 million hectares were planted with rice, and an additional 1–1.5 million hectares were planted this month.

"We are currently expediting planting activities in major rice-producing regions on Java Island and beyond. In Java, we are focusing on Central Java, East Java, and West Java," he pointed out.

As for regions outside Java, the government has placed focus on the provinces of Lampung, South Sumatra, North Sumatra, South Sulawesi, and West Nusa Tenggara, he added.

He expressed hope that the planting acceleration efforts would help the government achieve the target of producing 3 million tons of rice, actualizing the estimates from Statistics Indonesia.

The National Food Agency (Bapanas) earlier reported that the price of medium-grade rice rose by 0.43 percent to Rp13,890 (US$0.88) per kg. Premium-grade rice saw a similar increase of 0.32 percent, currently priced at Rp15,800 (US$1.01) per kg.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Anton Santoso
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