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Government Intensifies Stabilization of Food Stocks

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By: Nesya Alisha )*

Indonesia, with its large and diverse population, is one of the countries in the world that is highly dependent on the availability and stability of food prices. Keeping food prices stable is the government’s main priority in maintaining community welfare and economic stability.

This challenge is increasingly complex due to external dynamics such as climate change, global market fluctuations, and internal factors such as domestic food distribution and production.

The year 2024 brings new challenges in maintaining food price stability in Indonesia. Global climate change results in unstable weather patterns, affecting local agricultural production.

In addition, global market volatility and currency fluctuations may put additional pressure on domestic food prices. On the other hand, increasing population growth adds pressure to food availability.

The soaring price of rice and other commodities, among other things, occurred due to climate change and El Nino. Even though there is imported rice, President Joko Widodo believes that prices will be difficult to reduce, especially as the month of Ramadan approaches. The government has also stepped up market operations and encouraged the police to activate a Task Force to prevent rice hoarding.

President Joko Widodo reminded his staff in the Advanced Indonesia Cabinet to ensure food supplies and food price stability, especially staple foods. And also accelerate the distribution of all social protection and social security packages.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) instructed all his staff to ensure the availability of food, ahead of the month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. He also wants food price stability to be maintained.

So far, the price of rice on the market has jumped a lot. Low quality medium rice is now sold in the range of Rp. 12,000-Rp. 15,000 per liter. Medium rice such as Setra Ramos is sold for Rp. 93,000-Rp. 103,000 per 5 kilograms. Other commodities have also risen, such as eggs which have now jumped to Rp. 31,000-Rp. 32,000 per kilogram and red chilies which have started to soar to Rp. 85,000-Rp. 92,000 per kilogram.

Head of the National Food Agency, Arief Prasetyo Adi, explained that rice imports would be accelerated. If previously there was an import quota of 2 million tonnes and only 500,000 tonnes had been realized, the realization of imports of the remaining 1.5 million tonnes would be accelerated. Apart from that, the government will add another 1.6 million tons of imported rice.

Rice imports are a middle way in times like this because the Head of State wants Bulog’s stock to be at least 1.2 million tons and is targeting more at 3 million tons so that when domestic production is not yet available, the government still wants to have supplies.

The problem of delays in rice imports has become an obstacle due to all producing countries, especially the largest rice exporter, India, holding back their rice due to climate change. However, this is still done.

Apart from import delays, rice production is also disrupted by climate change and delays in the supply of fertilizer. Because of this, said Suharso, President Jokowi asked for fertilizer to be distributed immediately. For this reason, a budget of IDR 14 trillion-IDR 15 trillion is provided for this planting period.

Regarding the prices of chilies, cooking oil and chicken, the National Food Agency will facilitate food distribution. Regions experiencing commodity deficits need to work together with regions experiencing commodity surpluses.

For chicken, when prices fall in certain areas, the government will absorb it through BUMN IdFood and freeze it. This frozen chicken can be used to overcome tengkes and distributed to 1.4 million families at risk of  stunting  as recorded by the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN).

Head of the Logistics Agency (Bulog), Bayu Krisnamurthi, added that market operations would be accelerated. He said that whatever supplies are requested in various regions, they will still be provided according to demand. So you don’t need to worry anymore.

In order to accelerate market operations, implementation has been carried out in the Bogor rice market. Deputy Head of the Bogor Branch of the Bulog Office, Rina Febriani, explained that efforts to maintain rice supplies are ongoing by continuing direct distribution of the commodity.

Bulog officers visited community activity centers so that distribution could be carried out directly to the beneficiaries. Currently, Bulog continues to maintain the stability of market prices which have tended to rise in the last few days, so that later the public can buy these commodities again at the highest retail price of IDR 11,800/kg.

Then Bulog also ensured that the stock and supply of rice was still available until the Ramadan and Eid period at the Dramaga Warehouse, Bogor Regency, so that it could be distributed.

Furthermore, on the other hand, the Pekalongan City Government, Central Java, in collaboration with the Tegal Branch of the Logistics Affairs Agency, began distributing food aid from the Government’s 2024 rice reserves which will be distributed to 28,117 beneficiary families.

The Mayor of Pekalongan, Afzan Arslan Djunaid, said that the rice food assistance was a central government program given to beneficiary families who would each receive 10 kilograms of rice.

Distribution of Government food reserve assistance (CPP) for the first stage of rice food assistance through Perum Bulog in the form of rice which will be distributed to beneficiary families in 27 sub-districts from 4 sub-districts.

Head of the Tegal Branch of Perum Bulog, Anna Marianofa, said that her party would distribute 7,370 tons of government food reserve assistance to the ex-Pekalongan Residency area. Meanwhile, for assistance with the food supply and price stabilization program (SPHP), he said, up to February 2024, 1,000 tons have been distributed, including through modern retail in Pekalongan City.

Maintaining food price stability in Indonesia in 2024 is a complex challenge, but it can be overcome through a combination of appropriate government policies, the application of innovation and technology, and active community participation to support government efforts to maintain domestic food stability, especially rice commodities.

)* The author is a student majoring in food agribusiness

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