Prices of Staple Foods Jump Just Prior to Idul Fitri Celebrations

A grocer sits at his stall in Tebet, South Jakarta. Food prices have been stable since January. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

By : Tabita Diela, Novy Lumanauw & Radesman Saragih | on 10:08 AM June 24, 2017
Category : Business, Trade

Jakarta. Staple food prices jumped in various provinces across the archipelago two days before the start of Idul Fitri, despite the government's months-long effort to keep prices stable.

"We will check directly with the distributors and breeders to try to bring [prices] down," National Police chief Comr. Samudi said in Bandung, West Java, on Friday (23/06).

Samudi is the head of the National Police's special task force in West Java focused on keeping food prices stable and stocks full to meet the demand from those celebrating Idul Fitri, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

According to Samudi's investigation, prices of broiler chicken surged by 11 percent to Rp 40,000 ($3.00) per kilogram while shallot and chili pepper prices increased by 56 percent to Rp 50,000 per kilogram.

The price of meat also rose beginning on Thursday, according to Nasir, 55, a butcher at the Angsoduo Market in Jambi province.

On Thursday, Nasir sold his beef products to customers at Rp 130,000 per kilogram, though he expected to sell the same food for Rp 150,000 on Friday and Saturday, or Rp 10,000 higher than the average price ahead of Idul Fitri.

The special "food" task force in Jambi oversaw efforts to sell frozen beef to residents at only Rp 80,000 per kilogram to offset the higher prices found at local butcheries in the area, said National Police adjutant chief Comr. Guntur Saputro, head of supervision for the task force.

Prices of chili pepper at Angsoduo Market also reached as high as Rp 30,000 per kilogram, compared to an earlier Rp 25,000 before the holiday. Shallot prices also reached Rp 30,000 from an earlier Rp 24,000.

According to data from the Center of Information for National Strategic Food, which tracks the prices of staple foods across the archipelago, the average price of mid-size shallots reached Rp 46,900 per kilogram on Friday, up 32.7 percent from a day earlier.

Data also showed that the average price of green chili peppers increased 59.3 percent to Rp 59,500 per kilogram, while prices of red chili peppers increased to Rp 84,700 per kilogram. However, the cost of broiler chickens on average dropped 2 percent to Rp 33,950 per kilogram, according to the data.

Despite Friday's price spikes, the government has so far managed to keep prices relatively low throughout the fasting month of Ramadan across the country.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo previously praised Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita and National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian for their efforts in keeping food prices in check.

"I would like to express my biggest gratitude. We've seen that staple food prices are in a very good position ahead of Lebaran this year," the president said, referring to Idul Fitri by its more common name in Indonesia.

According to data from the Ministry of Trade, the average price of shallot in June up until Thursday was nearly Rp 32,000 per kilogram, while the average cost of broiler chicken was Rp 30,705 per kilogram.

Since the beginning of Ramadan in late May, Trade Minister Enggartiasto and Agriculture Minister Amran visited several traditional markets across the archipelago to ensure stable food prices and available food supply.

The ministries also deployed special teams, including representatives from the Trade Ministry and the Jakarta Department of Industry and Trade, as well as from the National Police special task force, in 70 cities across the archipelago ahead of Idul Fitri.

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