Rice stock adequate despite producers’ export curbs: Trade Minister

Yogyakarta (ANTARA) – Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan affirmed that the government has adequate rice stock to meet domestic demand, despite export curbs from some producing countries.”We have 1.6 million tons of (rice stock), which is abundant, so no need to worry,” he remarked when met at the Ahmad Dahlan University in Bantul, Yogyakarta, on Sunday. Minister Hasan reiterated that in addition to the available 1.6 million tons of rice stock, the government is currently expecting the arrival of 400 thousand tons of rice shipment. However, the import of rice is deemed necessary, he said. “We still need (to import rice) any amount required, but essentially, we have secured rice stock of 2 million tons (including the additional 400 thousand tons). Hence, everything is under control.” Owing to abundant rice stock at hand, he added, the government had made a decision to distribute rice aid of 10 kilograms each to as many as 21.3 million beneficiary families in September, October, and November this year. “We will distribute rice (aid) on a massive scale because we have an abundant stock of rice,” he affirmed. Earlier, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), while attending the 60th Anniversary of the Bogor Agricultural Institute on Friday (September 15), noted that 19 countries, including India, had imposed restrictions and even bans on rice exports, thereby resulting in a global increase in the price of rice. The countries have restrictedrice exports to ensure domestic food security, he said. The government is exploring cooperation to import rice from several countries, such as Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, and China, to stabilize prices and ensure sufficient rice supply for domestic consumption. President Jokowi said talks regarding rice imports had been held with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, Indian PM Narendra Modi, Bangladeshi President Mohammed Shahabuddin, and Chinese Premier Li Qiang.

Source: Antara News Agency