Jakarta (ANTARA) - Head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas) Arief Prasetyo Adi projected that over 3.5 million tons of rice would be harvested in March 2024, thereby being able to meet the needs in the country.

“Now, some already started (harvesting), and later, it is expected that especially for rice, in March, it will be above 3.5 million tons,” Adi noted on the sidelines of a seminar here on Tuesday (February 20).

He explained that the projection is based on the recovery of water supply for paddies after the El Nino-triggered dry season. Thus, rice from the harvests is expected to be able to meet the national consumption needs of 2.5 million tons per month.

Adi affirmed that the Bapanas, State Logistics Agency (Bulog), and relevant ministries and institutions continue to monitor rice supplies and prices in markets in order to ensure timely interventions to maintain price and supply stability.

In addition, his agency is making efforts to maintain a balance between the prices of unhusked and husked rice by making interventions through the government food reserves and other policies.

He noted that Bapanas is encouraging farmers’ productivity to increase by ensuring sufficient availability of fertilizers, among others.

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Adi emphasized the importance of fertilizers to support the farmers’ productivity. Thus, the availability of fertilizers must be guaranteed to support optimal harvests.

“I have communicated with Pupuk Indonesia Holding Company that in 27 thousand outlets, there are not only subsidized fertilizers but also commercial fertilizers,” he remarked.

Furthermore, the government has taken various strategic steps, including strengthening the irrigation infrastructure by building new reservoirs and canals to reduce farmers’ dependence on rainfall and to boost production results.

“President (Joko Widodo) and Public Works and Public Housing Minister (Basuki Hadimuljono) have built more than 61 reservoirs, retention basins, irrigation canals, and others,” he highlighted.

In addition, he stated that the government continues to monitor the Farmer Exchange Rate (NTP), which is an indicator of the farmers' prosperity. An improvement in NTP is expected to increase the income of farmers and boost productivity.

Related news: Bapanas ensures balance in all food supply chain lines

Translator: Muhammad Harianto, Raka Adji
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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