Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) stated that the realization of rice imports through State Logistics Agency (Bulog) was only less than five percent of the total national needs.

During his visit to the Bulog warehouse in Muna District, Southeast Sulawesi, on Monday, Jokowi explained that rice imports should be conducted to maintain stable prices of the commodity at the consumer level.

"Those five percent came from Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Pakistan. It is not easy to accommodate rice needs for 280 million Indonesians," he remarked.

During the visit, Jokowi ensured the availability and stability of the national food supply and also distributing food reserve assistance to beneficiary families.

He confirmed that the distribution of 10 kilograms of rice aid every month to beneficiary families will continue until June and is expected to be extended until December, depending on the availability of the State Budget.

According to the president, the rice aid initiative was the government's response to the increase in rice prices due to global food inflation.

However, the price of rice in Indonesia is still relatively affordable, as compared to other countries that experienced price hike of up to 50 percent, he pointed out.

On the other hand, Jokowi acknowledged that maintaining rice prices in Indonesia is challenging due to maintaining the farmers' welfare and price affordability for consumers.

Thus, the head of state is optimistic that the distribution of 10 kilograms of rice assistance will ease the burden on people affected by the price hike.

Based on the latest data at the start of May 2024, the realization of rice imports had reached 1.3 million tons from a total quota of 3.6 million tons.

Bulog projected the need for rice in Indonesia in 2024 to reach 31.2 million tons, based on the national food balance prognosis for the January-December 2024 period, prepared by the National Food Agency (Bapanas).

This means that the realization of rice imports in Indonesia had only reached 4.1 percent of the total demand in the country.

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Translator: Mentari Dwi G, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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