Farmers Consider the Policy to Import 2 Million Tons of Rice Not Appropriate

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —

The Indonesian Farmers Union (SPI) said that the government’s plan to import 2 million tonnes of rice this year was an inappropriate move. The reason is that currently several regions of Indonesia are in the middle of a big harvest.

SPI Chairman Henry Saragih said that although imported rice was intended as the Government’s Rice Reserve (CBP) as well as for the social assistance program, the announcement of rice imports in the near future could affect both psychologically and directly on prices at the farm level.

Henry also questioned whether it was true that domestic production was not sufficient to meet national needs, or if the problem lay in the availability of the budget and the mechanisms for absorbing grain or rice at the farm level.



“If indeed there is a decrease in production due to floods or pests and so on, this must be clear. This means that there is a discrepancy between the government’s prognosis (in this case BPS) and the facts on the ground,” said Henry in an official statement, Tuesday (28/3).

SPI assesses rice imports as a result of the government’s slowness in adopting policies, in which Bulog did not control CBP from last year and the problem has continued into this year. Therefore, SPI asked the government to improve the role, function and way of working of Bulog in carrying out its duties before deciding to import rice.

Likewise with CBP it is considered that a regulation must be made, for example 10 percent of the national rice need. Henry said the CBP problem should have been anticipated long ago.

“We see that this is related to the government’s delay in revising the HPP price (cost of goods sold) at the farmer level, so that rice absorption is not optimal. Even if this is done in a measured way and in advance, of course farmers will consider selling their grain to Bulog,” said Henry.

According to Henry, the government is still not optimal in issuing rice policies that are in favor of the fate of farmers and people working in rural areas.

This can be seen from the government’s not yet optimal implementation of agrarian reform, namely redistributing land to farmers, the price of fertilizers and other production inputs that have not been stable, and the lack of protection and guarantees of proper prices for farmers’ production.

“It seems that the government is taking shortcuts by continuing to rely on food imports to solve food problems in Indonesia. This in principle further distances the government from the principle of food sovereignty,” said Henry.

The National Food Agency (Bapanas) has assigned Bulog to import 2 million tonnes of rice this year. This directive was the result of an internal meeting with President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on Friday (24/3) which was contained in a copy of the letter.

In the letter, Bulog was ordered to import 2 million tons of rice this year, of which 500 thousand tons had to be imported as soon as possible.

“We have assigned Perum Bulog to procure 2 million tonnes of government rice reserves (CBP) from abroad by the end of December 2023. The procurement of the first 500,000 tonnes should be carried out as soon as possible,” wrote a copy of the letter signed by the Head of Babas Arief Prasetyo Adi.

A copy of the letter also stated that the additional supply of rice could be used for the Rice Food Price and Supply Stabilization (SPHP) program, rice assistance to around 21.353 million beneficiary families (KPM) and other needs.

(Gambas:Video CNN)


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