Agriculture minister reluctant to comment on new rice import permit


Agriculture minister reluctant to comment on new rice import permit Workers unload Vietnamese rice at Tenau Port in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, on Feb. 13. (Antara/ Kornelis Kaha)

Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman is reluctant to comment on the fresh issuance of an import permit for 500,000 tons of rice, saying that the importation of rice is not his authority.

“Ask me when Indonesia will export rice again [not about rice imports],” said Amran in Jakarta on Monday when he was asked to comment on the rice import permit issued by the Trade Ministry to the State Logistics Agency (Bulog).

The rice is expected to be imported before July, in addition to the 500,000 tons that had been imported earlier this year.

Amran said his ministry would focus on food production, the introduction of agriculture technology and the mentoring of farmers to provide them with better infrastructure and facilities to improve their productivity.

“About the high rice price, it is also our question,” said Amran, as quoted by in Jakarta, adding that the stocks for Ramadhan and the Idul Fitri holiday were secure.

He said the rice stock was higher than normal. “We have prepared the stocks 20 to 30 percent higher than the stocks of other months.”

Trade Ministry international trade director general Oke Nurwan said the ministry had issued a permit for Bulog to import rice following a decision made during a meeting at the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister.

The rice, which will be imported from several countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, India and Pakistan, was expected to curb the price, which was still above the price ceiling decided by the government, Oke added.


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