Jakarta. The Trade Ministry says Indonesia has enough food supplies to last until August, amid public fear of shortages in the wake of the global Covid-19 outbreak.
Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said there are enough supplies of staple food such as rice and corn for the next five months, which include the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan from April to May when demand will peak.
Agus said new supplies from the latest harvest season are expected to enter the market soon.
"Our food supplies will last until August. As of now, we have 3.5 million tons of rice, and we expect around 22 million tons more from the latest harvest," Agus said at the Coordinating Minister for the Economy's headquarters in Jakarta on Friday.
Corn supply currently stands at 580,000 tons with expected new-harvest addition of up to 13 million tons.
Agus said the government has also given the go-ahead to process new import permits for garlic. This will allow 34,000 tons of garlic to come into Indonesia starting next week.
"We've issued [import permits for] 34,000 tons of garlic, and they will gradually come, starting in the next three days," Agus said.
Similarly, the ministry will also process import permits for onion within the next week, and 14,000 tons will enter Indonesia gradually until April.
Customers have been complaining of skyrocketing prices for garlic and onion – the two most imported products from China – in the past few weeks since the Covid-19 outbreak escalated.
The ministry also expected harvest for red chili which happens from March to May will strengthen the current supply.
As for sugar, Agus said there are 159,000 tons kept by distributors.
Agus said Indonesia also has supplies of 14,000 tons of meat, and the government has issued an instruction to add 170,000 tons more.
Lastly, the supply of cooking oil is currently at 8.2 million tons.
The price of some raw foods has been increasing in the past two weeks amid import disruptions from China.
Responding to reports of price rises on some commodities, including sugar and onion, Agus said the Trade Ministry will continue to monitor warehouses to avoid any stockpiling during this dire period.
"We've been trying to normalize prices by deploying a ministerial team and a task force to check on warehouses to avoid stockpiling," Agus said.
On the same occasion, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto said policies issued by the government to ensure sufficient food supply in the country, including on importing, were not just a response to the Covid-19 outbreak but also to prepare for the coming Ramadan.
"The policies are there to ensure we have enough food supplies for Ramadan and Idul Fitri, aside from responding to [shortage caused by] the Covid-19 outbreak," Airlangga said.