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The Government is Optimizing to Stabilize Rice Prices Ahead of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr

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President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) instructed all his staff to ensure the availability of food, ahead of the month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. The President also instructed to speed up the distribution of all social protection network packages to recipient communities. This is to ensure the stabilization of rice prices and supplies so that it is hoped that people can worship calmly and solemnly. 

The Main Director of Perum Bulog, Bayu Krisnamurthi stated that the price of premium rice on the market is starting to gradually stabilize ahead of the National Religious Holidays (HKBN) Ramadhan and Eid al-Fitr 1445 Hijriah. According to him, people do not need to worry because rice prices are starting to return to normal and stable. He explained that the price of premium rice, which once reached IDR 17 thousand, is now gradually starting to fall and has returned to a price of around IDR 14 thousand, as well as the price of medium rice starting to stabilize.

People don’t need to worry about fluctuations in rice prices and stocks. Rice price fluctuations sometimes rise and then return to normal, this has actually become an annual cycle. This year’s harvest was slightly delayed due to the El Nino storm that hit and farmers’ need for expensive fertilizer. Bayu said the rice supply was approaching normal ahead of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr 1445 Hijriah so people did not need to worry. Currently, rice stocks in Bulog warehouses reach 1.4 million tons.

Secretary of the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, Susiwijono Moegiarso, said that based on market law, if the supply of goods is abundant, while demand is low, prices will fall. The main problem with rare and expensive rice in modern retail is due to shifts in planting and harvest periods. The planting period was supposed to take place in September 2023, but it was postponed to December 2023, due to climate change.

In this regard, Bulog continues to take various steps and efforts to control rice prices, so that it can maintain stability in the market and quickly return to normal conditions. Bulog will continue to secure the government’s rice reserve stock (CBP), either through absorbing harvests or utilizing the import quota which has been increased by 1.6 million tons. According to the latest information provided, Bulog currently controls around 1.39 million tons of CBP rice. The government’s rice reserve stock in Bulog is currently sufficient for distribution needs, needs during fasting and Eid.

There are 7 steps taken by Bulog in an effort to maintain the availability and stability of food prices, especially rice, including: First, distributing Government Rice Reserve (CBP) food aid aimed at 22 million families receiving Food Aid (PBP). The actual distribution of CBP Food Assistance during January-February 2024 was 330 thousand tons. Second, distributing SPHP rice through more than 26 thousand stalls and kiosks in markets and assisted outlets in locations accessible to consumers. As of February 28 2024, around 352 thousand tons of SPHP rice have been distributed. Third, increase stock at the Cipinang Rice Main Market (PIBC) and collaborate with PT Food Station Jakarta, both with SPHP rice stock and BULOG premium (commercial) rice. This activity is claimed to be able to increase rice stocks at PIBC (Cipinang Rice Main Market), from 30 thousand tons to 37 thousand tons.

Fourth, distribution of SPHP rice and premium (commercial) rice is also carried out through modern retail networks, both national and local. Tens of thousands of tonnes of rice have reportedly been distributed during the January-February 2024 period. Fifth, initiating the Bulog Siaga program (akSI guard prices) which sells directly to consumers in affordable locations. The total sales points have reached 52 points in DKI Jakarta and West Java, and the target is to increase to 100 points. Sixth, securing government stocks through the implementation of CBP and management of commercial food commodities for the implementation of further tasks until the end of the year. And seventh, monitoring harvest developments in production center areas which will have the potential to absorb domestic rice grain to strengthen the Government Food Reserves (CPP).

Experience shows that every time approaching Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr the prices of basic necessities often soar. It is natural that President Joko Widodo reminded his staff again to anticipate. Several months before Ramadan, prices of basic commodities, especially rice, have started to rise. If it is not anticipated carefully, it is feared that the price will continue to skyrocket. 

The high price of rice on the market is due to climate change factors which cause farmers to experience crop failure. Even though this condition has been going on for the last few months, the government remains committed to maintaining the availability of rice on the market. 

Not only rice, the government continues to anticipate increases in other basic necessities. Currently there are a number of commodities whose prices are high, for example eggs and granulated sugar. In order to ensure that people can worship calmly and solemnly throughout Ramadan, the government is making policies to reduce the prices of basic necessities. Apart from that, the distribution of various social assistance packages is also being accelerated.

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