Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Food Agency (Bapanas) announced that the government is preparing to import an additional 1.6 million tons of rice to fill the government's rice reserves (CBP) managed by the government food distribution agency, Bulog.

"This 1.6 (million tons) is being prepared. The president asked that there be a minimum of 1.2 (million tons) in stock at Bulog, while actually, he wanted it to be three million tons," Bapanas Head Arief Prasetyo Adi stated at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Monday.

The government, according to him, already has an import quota of two million tons of rice for the CBP stock. From the quota, the realization of imported rice has only reached 500 thousand tons.

Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo ordered a minimum stock in Bulog of 1.2 million and even three million tons as reserve rice stock, while the main harvest season was still awaited for national production.

Hence, imports from the quota of two million tons of rice should be realized first.

"Yes, if necessary, but the two million (tons) must go in immediately," Adi stressed.

Adi admitted that the current price of rice is still above Rp16 thousand per kilogram. This is because the price of harvested dry grain (GKP) at the farmer level is still in the range of Rp8,000-Rp8,600 per kilogram in several areas.

He targets that the rice price will only be corrected when the harvest reaches 3.5 million tons. However, it takes up to three weeks for the harvested rice to be distributed to the community.

"If the harvest is above 3.5 million tons, it usually takes two weeks to three weeks to 'convert' it into rice. At harvest, the grain is dried until distribution in approximately three weeks," Adi remarked.

The government also assigned Bulog to sell rice at a maximum retail price (HET) to the public through the Food Supply and Price Stabilization (SPHP) program of 250 thousand tons.

Moreover, millers in several areas have been urged to conduct massive distribution of rice in five-kilogram packages to all retailers and traditional markets.
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Translator: Mentari Dwi Gayati, Cindy Frishanti Octavia
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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