Indonesia sees rice stocks soar, no imports planned until year-end

Ina Parlina

The Jakarta Post – Jakarta. After struggling to survive the impact of the El Niño weather phenomenon last year, Indonesia has finally seen domestic supply of the country’s most important staple food return to adequate levels, putting aside the need to import by year-end.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said Wednesday that the country’s national rice stock stood at 1.98 million tons in October, soaring from 1.03 million tons in the same month last year, an achievement he attributed to friendly weather throughout this year.

“I can assure you that there will be no [rice] imports until the end of the year,” he said on the sidelines of his visit to the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) headquarters in Cilodong, on the outskirts of Jakarta.

The El Niño weather pattern, known to trigger a prolonged dry season, impacted rice production in the country in the final months of last year.

Soon after his inauguration in late 2014, Jokowi announced that he was targeting achieving rice self-sufficiency by 2017 and his government would give more incentives to farmers to meet this objective.

In 2014, the government, through the State Logistics Agency (Bulog), imported at least 425,000 tons of rice from Thailand and Vietnam. (hwa)