Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is implementing proactive measures to provide Indonesia`s tofu and tempe (soybean cake) makers with guaranteed soybean supply till the end of this year, according to a minister.

"We have assured the Indonesian Tofu and Tempe Cooperative (Kopti) of year-long soybean supplies," Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said here on Tuesday.

The minister noted that the spike in soybean prices of late was driven by limited supply of the commodity and the weakening of the rupiah against the US dollar.

He revealed that the government was forced to consider importing soybean because domestic production failed to meet demand.

Gita stated that domestic soybean production was projected to reach 800 thousand tons per annum, national demand for the commodity was expected to touch 2.5 million tons per annum.

Therefore, he explained, approximately an additional 500 thousand tons of soybean would be needed to fulfill the consumption demand of the commodity this year. "We hope our farmers can supply this," the minister continued.

Gita said it was feared that if the national demand for soybean was met through importation, the commodity`s price would continue to rise because the pricing would be determined by the exporting countries.

The minister also expressed hope that the rupiah would stabilize soon so soybean prices would stop rising.

"A stable rupiah exchange rate will reduce the volatility of soybean prices as well," Gita said.

Earlier, Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa announced that the government would organize market operations through state-owned logistics agency "Bulog" to keep soybean prices in check.

"Bulog has been operating under the president`s instructions to control soybean prices, by importing the commodity in a way that would keep its prices stable," he said on Monday.

According to the minister, Bulog`s intervention will help stabilize soybean prices because it will stop other market players from capitalizing on market speculation.

Hatta stated that the government, through the ministries of trade and agriculture, had so far been successful in its efforts to stabilize food prices in the market.


Editor: Suryanto
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