Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Government will not resort to imports to control the current hike in prices of shallots, Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan stated on Thursday.

"There will be no imports of shallots. No, we should not allow that," he remarked after attending a post-Eid friendly meeting at the Trade Ministry's Office, Jakarta.

He made the statement when asked about the possibility of the government importing shallots to deal with the soaring prices of the commodity in the country.

According to data from the National Food Agency (Bapanas), as of Thursday, the national average price of shallots stood at Rp53,500 (US$3.28) per kilogram. The highest price, Rp81,620 (US$5.04) per kg, was recorded in Central Papua, while the lowest, Rp35,990 (US$2.22) per kg, was in Riau Islands.

Meanwhile, the ideal price of shallots for the same quantity is within the range of Rp30 thousand-Rp40 thousand (US$1.85-US$2.46).

Hasan affirmed that Indonesia does not need to resort to imports to tame the prices since the country still has the capacity to cultivate its own shallots.

"We can produce our own shallots. If we find imported shallots, we will take the necessary measures," he underscored.

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On the occasion, Hasan also explained that the increase in shallot prices had been caused by floods in Brebes, Central Java, which led to disruptions to the distribution of the commodity.

"The recent floods were responsible. Hopefully, the prices will start going down next week. I believe the prices will return to the normal level within a week," he remarked.

Earlier, Trade Ministry's Director General of Domestic Trade, Isy Karim, stated that the ministry would continue to monitor shallot price developments in markets, although the authority of handling the price lies with the Bapanas.

He also noted that the government had been observing shallot stocks in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Province.

"We are observing (the stocks) in Bima, NTB. It should be noted that Bima, in addition to Brebes, is a source of shallots," he remarked.

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Translator: Putu Indah, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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