Indonesia will not have to import rice through June 2019 as the country has enough of the commodity in stock, said Budi Waseso, head of state-owned logistics firm Bulog.
Earlier this year, the Trade Ministry issued a recommendation to import 2 million tons of rice in 2018, which was approved during a coordination meeting of economic ministers.
Budi said that Bulog’s warehouses currently stored 2.4 million tons or rice, while another 400,000 tons of imported rice would arrive in October.
From the 2.8 million tons of rice, 100,000 will be distributed as social assistance through rice welfare program Rastra.
Budi estimates that Bulog would be managing up to 3 million tons of rice by year-end as the agency purchases 4,000 tons of unhusked rice from farmers every day.
Bulog has set up a team whose members consist of independent experts as well as representatives from Bulog and the Agriculture Ministry.
“The team recommend not to import rice up to June 2019,” he told a press conference as quoted by Antara news agency.
He added that Bulog might not need to release the imported rice to meet market demand.
He also questioned the estimation of rice demand being between 2.4 and 2.7 million tons per month, based on the assumption that each person, including infants, consumed about 130 kilograms of rice per year.
“If our rice demand was 2.7 million tons, our rice production would never be enough to meet the demand,” he added.