President, economists discuss food problems

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo has invited 11 economists to the State Palace to discuss food problems in the country.

"President Joko Widodo and 11 economists in the field of agriculture and fisheries discuss food problems and poverty," an economist from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) Bayu Krisnamurthi said here on Tuesday.

Based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), the stability of food prices has helped reduce poverty in Indonesia.

The economists urged the government to concern about the increase of rice price.

Krisnamurthi pointed out that the meeting also discussed the countrys rice production data, changes in rice consumption, and farmers welfare.

"We agree with the Presidents view regarding the stability of food prices. The stability of food prices has a positive impact on farmers income," he said.

He stated that the stability of food prices would reduce poverty.

The income of farmers will increase, if they receive added value from processing activities, rice miling even to sales or marketing.

The BPS earlier reported that poverty and inequality levels in Indonesia dropped in September from a year earlier, with tame inflation and the governments rice subsidies program.

BPS data indicate that 26.58 million Indonesians, or 10 percent of the population, live below the poverty line, compared to 27.76 million, or 10.7 percent, in September last year.

The September figure was also lower than that in March, when it stood at 27.77 million, or 10.64 percent. The countrys poverty level has been declining since 1999, when almost a quarter of the population was categorized as poor.

Indonesia measures poverty every March and September, to reflect the condition in the harvest and non-harvest season.

"According to the National Socioeconomic Survey from September 2017, between May and August, rice was delivered to about 30 percent of all households," the BPS said.

Spending on rice, the staple food of most Indonesians, equals to about one fifth of the poors monthly spending. The government defines a person as poor if his or spending is less than Rp361,990 (US$25) a month.

Source: ANTARA News

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