The Head of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP) who is also the Chairperson of the Indonesian Farmers Harmony Association (HKTI) Moeldoko said the government still needed to import rice at this time. According to him, land depreciation due to development is one of the factors reducing national rice production.
"In reality we still need imports. The first is depreciation, land depreciation is up to, the last data was 24 percent yesterday," Moeldoko said at the Presidential Palace Complex, Jakarta, Thursday (20/9).
The massive development, be it toll roads, opened industrial estates, as well as the construction of housing estates, has reduced agricultural land and affected rice production.
Nevertheless, he continued, the government through the agriculture minister has made various efforts to boost rice production. Among them are opening agricultural land outside Java and conducting agricultural intensification.
"But again, that weather, pest factors, etc., greatly affect productivity. So we still need imports," said Moeldoko.
However, continued Moeldoko, rice imports should not be done when farmers are harvesting. Furthermore, related to the full warehouse of Bulog, Moeldoko said that was caused by the entry of imported rice and local rice.
Nevertheless, the supply of rice in the Bulog warehouse will continue to decrease to meet market needs because the Bulog's function is to balance market prices. "So if the Buwas (Director of Budi Waseso Bulog Public Corporation - Red) said oh now it is still full, maybe next week, two weeks will be reduced because the needs meet the market. So that's like that," he added.
Previously, the Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita and the Managing Director of Perum Bulog Budi Waseso exchanged views on the rice import policy. Budi Waseso said that the government did not need to import rice until June 2019.
According to him, rice imports by the government will be redundant. Because, rice reserves and local production are still sufficient to meet public consumption. Rice reserves in the Bulog warehouse alone reached 2.4 million tons.
This amount does not include imported rice which will enter in October amounting to 400 thousand tons. Thus, Bulog's total rice reserves reached 2.8 million tons.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Trade Enggar said that based on the coordination meeting conducted by the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, Bulog had an import quota permit of up to two million tons so far this year.