Indonesia Can End Rice Imports, Official Says

Indonesia may be able to implement preemptive import measures by establishing a rice import contract with producing countries for a set amount of time.

Dwi Rachmawati

20 Nov 2023 - 18.17
Indonesia Can End Rice Imports, Official Says

Bisnis, JAKARTA — Indonesia’s rice imports were deemed a reactive measure rather than preventive. This year, the government mandated importing 3.5 million tonnes of rice to meet food demands. Imports have been an integral part of the government's efforts to meet the supply of staple foods for citizens, especially over the past two decades.

Yeka Hendra Fatika, an Indonesian Ombudsman member, said that importing rice requires long-term planning to ensure government rice reserves' availability consistently. “This import policy is still reactive. Imports are driven more for consumption fulfilment than for strengthening food reserves,” said Yeka in a discussion on Sunday (11/19/2023).

According to Yeka, rice procurement should be the critical intervention in the market when domestic rice production is insufficient. From 2000 to 2023, Indonesia averaged one million tonnes of rice imports per year, even though the import quota reached 3.5 million tons during this period. “But now, if [production] is insufficient, [the government] decides to import, the goods arrive, and it turns out the prices have already risen in the international market,” said Yeka.

He said impromptu imports risk being influenced by global rice market fluctuations, such as rice export restrictions by India and other countries, leading to increased rice prices in exporting countries.

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Editor: Yusuf Waluyo Jati

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Indonesia Can End Rice Imports, Official Says

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