Unreliable data forced hand in rice import: Minister


Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution has admitted that the government had no reliable data on rice production or demand, which had forced it to resort to unplanned imports in an effort to ease the price increase.

It had claimed earlier that local rice production was enough to meet the demand.

Darmin said on Monday in Jakarta that the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) and the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) would cooperate in gathering rice production data, including the dimensions of planted rice fields and harvest dates.

“The government hopes we will also have data on irrigated rice fields in Indonesia,” he said at his office as reported by tempo.co, adding that the data would be included in the One Map Policy that would be launched on Aug. 18.

He said the government would also hire an independent institution to gather the rice data.

The government announced last week that it would import 500,000 tons of rice in late January, although the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) had said earlier that 2.8 million tons of rice was produced last year against an annual demand of only 2.6 million tons.

Ombudsman Indonesia commissioner Ahmad Alamsyah Saragih had earlier criticized the government for its unreliable rice data that had triggered market problems, pointing out that the government should also have valid data on rice stocks that were ready for distribution. “Don’t just supply us only with [data on] rice production surplus,” he added.  


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