ILUSTRASI. A worker climbs down sacks of rice at the Bulog rice warehouse in Jakarta, September 30, 2010. REUTERS/Beawiharta (INDONESIA - Tags: BUSINESS AGRICULTURE)
Reporter: Barly Haliem, Yuwono Triatmodjo | Editor: Syamsul Azhar
JAKARTA. National Food Agency (Bapanas) has assigned Perum Bulog to import 2 million tons of rice this year. Of that amount, 500,000 tons are urgently needed to meet the stock demand. The assignment is stated in a letter from the Head of Bapanas, Arief Prasetyo Adhi, to the President Director of Perum Bulog, dated March 24, 2023.
In the letter received by KONTAN, Bapanas stated that the assignment of rice import to Bulog was the result of a meeting between Bapanas and President Joko Widodo on March 24, 2023, with the topic of the availability of basic commodities and the preparation of the Eid al-Fitr holiday 1444 H.
The meeting decided that Bulog would import rice for the government rice reserve (CBP) of 2 million tons until the end of December 2023. Of that amount, Bulog was assigned to import 500,000 tons as soon as possible.
Bapanas stated that the additional supply of rice could be used for the Rice Supply and Price Stabilization Program (SPHP), rice assistance to around 21.35 million beneficiary families (KPM), and other needs.
KONTAN has attempted to contact Bulog officials to confirm the assignment from Bapanas. However, Bulog management declined to comment.
Import Assignment Letter
"It will be explained directly by the President Director at the hearing with Commission IV of the DPR, on Monday," said one of Bulog's management when contacted by KONTAN on Saturday (25/3).
As a note, the government will provide food social assistance (bansos) for 21.35 million less fortunate people. The bansos will be in the form of 10 kg of rice and chicken eggs.
The government has prepared a budget of IDR 7.8 trillion for rice, including distribution costs. Meanwhile, the budget for procuring eggs and chickens is around IDR 450 billion. As a result, the total Lebaran bansos this year is around IDR 8.25 trillion.
The government promises to distribute the bansos from the beginning of the fasting month in 2023 until early April or before Eid al-Fitr. The rice used for bansos is from Bulog's stock.
If Bapanas assigns Bulog to immediately import rice, does it mean that Bulog's rice stock is empty? As of this writing, KONTAN has not received confirmation from Bapanas or Bulog.
However, in the letter to Bulog, Bapanas reminded Bulog to continue to maintain interest in domestic rice.
"In line with this, we assign Perum Bulog to continue to optimize the absorption of domestic production, especially during the March-May Harvest Festival 2023," Arief wrote in his letter on Friday (24/3).