Indonesia not to import rice this year: official

JAKARTA, (PNA/Xinhua) — The Indonesian government would not import rice this year as the domestic production is sufficient to meet demand, said the country’s deputy agriculture minister Rusman Heriawan said here on Thursday.

The deputy minister said that the country’s hulled-rice production was expected to grow by 0.35 percent to 34 million tons this year from that of at last year based on the first government forecast, and he expected the figure to rise in the second estimate that would be announced soon.

Indonesia has three forecasts of the rice production in a year.

For unhulled-rice, the government forecasts the vast- archipelago country to produce 76 million tons this year.

“No, we will not import rice this year…BULOG (the national logistic agency) is reluctant to import rice,” said Heriawan at the side line of trade export at the Jakarta Convention Center.

Indonesia had previously imported rice, the staple food for most of its 238 million population, from Thailand, Vietnam and other countries.

“Our first forecast says that our hulled-rice output is at 33 to 34 million tons this year. And at the second forecast it is going to be more than the first projection,” said Heriawan.

The deputy minister said that the self-sufficiency on rice would continue to the coming years.

The Indonesian government expected to raise rice stockpile to 2. 7 million tons this year, in an attempt to strengthen food security, Coordinating Minister for Economy Hatta Rajasa has said.