Appreciating the Government’s Food Reserve Assistance Program (BCP) in Maintaining Rice Price Stability
By: Nana Gunawan *)
The government has again launched the Food Reserve Assistance Program (BCP) for the second phase of food assistance, which in the previous phase had been successfully implemented. A number of parties appreciated the Government’s efforts to achieve rice price stability through the BCP Program.
The President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, said that starting from September 2023, 210 thousand tons of rice will be distributed until November 2023. Jokowi targets that every month he will distribute 10 kg of rice to each beneficiary which will later be issued by the Logistics Agency (Bulog) in order to maintain food price stability from inflation.
The President stated that this food aid would help the Indonesian people meet their basic daily needs and help control the price of rice on the market. The 210 thousand tons that Jokowi is targeting will be aimed at 21.353 million recipients including the retail market and Beneficiary Families (KPM).
On this occasion, the Government handed over rice food aid to 645 KPM in Babakan Village, Bogor Regency. In general, based on the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), rice production always occurs in the August period. Meanwhile, domestic rice production in the September to December period tends to be below demand, so efforts are being made to distribute the BCP Program to low-income communities to anticipate an increase in demand which will lead to price spikes.
However, President Jokowi ensured that the availability of rice in a number of regions in the country was still under control. Apart from the ongoing harvest, the Government will also continue to import rice. This policy was carried out as an anticipatory step in maintaining rice stocks in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas), Arief Prasetyo Adi, said that President Jokowi’s launch of food aid indicated the Government’s seriousness in rolling out the BCP throughout Indonesia. In this program, the Government targets that each KPM will receive 10 kg of rice in three distributions.
Arief Prasetyo Adi also encouraged the Government, especially Regional Governments (Pemda), to prepare food reserves according to the needs of each region. His party will consistently help regions that will experience food stock deficits with the Inter-Regional Cooperation (KAD) scheme.
West Java Province is one of the regions participating in the BCP Program to control rice prices which is targeted to be completed before the end of September 2023.
The West Java Food and Livestock Security Service (DKPP) assesses that rice prices are starting to gradually stabilize with an average price reaching IDR 11,483/kg until the third weekend of September 2023. Of course, this result is an effort by the Central Government and the West Java Provincial Government to consistently distribute aid rice food.
The Acting Governor of West Java, Bey Triadi Machmudin, said that since the BCP Program, the price of rice has gradually been controlled, although it can still be said that it has not completely reduced to normal prices.
This program is in line with the efforts of the West Java DKPP which is currently proposing an additional budget to roll out the BCP Program in the 2023 Revised APBD. Head of the West Java DKPP, Moh. Arifin Soedjayana said that the rice stock as of August 2023 was 1,399 tons and proposed plans for additional purchases of 762 tons.
In Indramayu, as many as 477 KPM in Silyeg Lor Village, Kab. Indramayu which has received free rice is 1 sack containing 10 kg. This free rice is one of the BCP programs distributed by the Regent of Indramayu, Nina Agustina. Head of Silyeg Log Village, Hj. Greece said that the people felt the benefits of the BCP Program from the Government. The community also considers that this program is proof of the Government’s concern for them in dealing with food insecurity, poverty, emergencies, and controlling food price inflation.
Hj. Greece expressed its gratitude from the community, especially the residents of Indramayu, to the Government for the concrete steps in improving the welfare of the community by providing direct rice assistance so that the community received a large positive impact.
On the other hand, Kab. Temanggung is also one of the regions that distributes BCP to its people. Head of the District Food Security, Agriculture and Fisheries Service (DKPPP). Temanggung, Joko Budi Nuryanto said that the Temanggung Regency Government (Pemkab) and Bapanas are working together with Bulog to distribute the second phase of food reserves, namely from September to November 2023.
Joko Budi Nuryanto added that there are around 83,000 residents who are beneficiaries of the BCP Program. Each beneficiary will receive 10 kg of rice/month.
The mechanism for distributing rice aid carried out by the Temanggung Regency Government is by using transporters appointed directly by Bulog as an extension of Bapanas. Before distribution, the Temanggung Regency Government will first carry out verification regarding potential beneficiaries at their respective village/district offices. This verification aims to ensure that the rice distributed is on target.
In this way, people do not need to worry about rice food insecurity in Indonesia because both the Central Government and Regional Governments have taken the right steps in dealing with this crisis. The government has also committed to guaranteeing the availability of rice so that the BCP Program will be distributed directly to the beneficiaries.
*) The author is an Economic Observer, Pershada Institute.