Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government will speed up the distribution of relatively lower priced rice under the Food Supply and Price Stabilization (SPHP) Program to maintain price stability, Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan stated.

"The government is taking the solution of expediting the distribution of the SPHP rice from the State Logistics Agency (Bolog) to anticipate an increase in premium-quality rice in modern retail stores," he remarked here on Monday (February 19).

Hasan noted that currently, the supply of premium-quality rice is lower than that recorded during normal conditions due to disruptions from the El Nino phenomenon that delayed the planting and harvest periods. This, he said, has caused an increase in rice prices.

"Currently, there is Bulog's SPHP rice that serves as an alternative. The disruptions of supplies to the market must be tackled, so that they do not slow down," he explained.

He made assurance to the community to not harbor concerns, as the rice stock in Bulog was sufficient.

The minister also encouraged people to shift to SPHP rice whose retail price ceiling (HET) is set at Rp54 thousand (around US$3.45) per five kilograms. Moreover, Bulog will distribute SPHP rice to modern retail stores to tackle delays in the supply of premium-quality rice.

"The community should not worry. If there is an increase in the prices of premium-quality rice, people can buy SPHP rice that is available in people's markets and modern retail stores," he stated.

He further noted that currently, Bulog's rice stock is quite abundant, reaching more than one million tons.

On Monday, Hasan conducted monitoring at two modern retail stores and a market in Jakarta.

Based on the monitoring, it was found that several modern retail stores are reluctant to sell premium-quality rice, as the selling price has reached the range of Rp72 thousand (around US$4.60) to Rp80 thousand (around US$5.11) per five kilograms.

Meanwhile, the HET for premium-quality rice is Rp69,500 (around US$4.44) per five kilograms.

This has caused most modern retail stores to choose to not sell premium-quality rice, as they have to buy it from suppliers at prices above the HET.

Related news: Jokowi ensures market operations to continue until rice prices stable
Related news: Bulog readies 315,000 tons rice for market operations

Translator: Muhammad Harianto, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2024