TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The Indonesian government is currently preparing to import up to 200,000 tons of rice until the end of this year as the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) is seeking export countries that fit the government’s budget.
“We are attempting [to import] 200,000. We will try to fulfill it by the end of December,” said Bulog president director Budi Waseso on Wednesday, December 7.
The massive rice import was agreed on following a limited meeting with President Joko Widodo. The Trade Minister has also ratified the permits to import 500,000 tons by the end of this year.
Bulog said that the current global conditions made it difficult to import rice. The geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine which is still heating up has hampered the world food supply chain, resulting in almost all rice-producing countries closing their exports.
Budi Waseso claims there was one country ready to export rice to Indonesia but decided to cancel it. The reason is that the country is not ready to send the bulk in a short time. In addition, according to him, licensing matters are also not easy.
Despite the challenges, he believes Indonesia will not experience a rice shortage and strengthened his belief by citing a data by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) showing that rice supplies for critical aspects suffice. However, the official government rice reserve or CBP is starting to decrease and justifies rice imports as CBPs are used to stabilize food prices and disperse disaster aid.
The total rice currently available at Perum Bulog as of December 6 amounts to 494,202 tons. The total rice includes CBP stocks of 295,337 tons or 59.76 percent and commercial stocks of 198,965 tons or 40.24 percent. Thus, at least around 700,000 tons are needed to reach the minimum CBP stock limit which must be supplied from within the country of 500,000 tons and 200,000 tons from abroad.