Bengkulu (ANTARA News) - About 50 percent of 115 tofu and tempe (fermented soybean cake) makers in Bengkulu City have stopped production following soybean price increase, Chairman of Bengkulu`s Tahu - Tempe Cooperatives Unit Mas Agus Yunus said.

"The sharp increase in the prices of soybean has led about 50 percent tofu and tempe makers to stop their production," Mas Agus said here on Friday.

Mas Agus made the remarks in a meeting with officials from the local industrial services, national food resilience agency and Bangkulu regional government secretary, M Nasyah.

He said that the present soybean price of Rp9,500 per kg at the distributor`s level was no longer economical for tofu and tempe makers to continue their production.

"The price level that we can still consider economical is Rp7,000 per kg but in the market now the price has reached Rp9,500 per kg," Mas Agus said.

Therefore, he said, half of producers in Bangkulu City stopped production. "After all, the price of tempe and tofu does not increase," he added.

He said that tofu and tempe producers in Bengkulu had intention to hold a strike as part of their protest against the government which they considered was unable to control the price of soybean in the country.

Mas Agus said that the need of tempe and tofu producers for soybean in Bengkulu city reached 200 tons per month.

Second Assistant Secretary of Bangkulu Province M Nasyah said that soybean supply in the market was enough but its price was high.

"We will check it in the field the origin of soybean sold at the distributor," Nasyah said.

The trade ministry`s regulation has set the price of soybean at Rp7,300 per kg at the farmer`s level and Rp7,700 per kg at the producer`s level.

Data at the local agricultural office indicated that Bengkulu Province`s soybean production target is set 8,0556 tons in 2013.

It is expected to meet the need of tempe and tofu producers for soybean at 400 tons per month.


Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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