Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Thursday said that Indonesia’s domestic production of rice has helped keep the price of the country’s most popular staple food stable. The prices of noodles and bread, however, are at risk of rising as the war continues to rage in the world’s food basket Ukraine.
According to Jokowi, Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus supply up to 40 percent of the world’s wheat. Unfortunately, the ongoing war in Ukraine has driven up the prices of wheat, a key ingredient for bread and noodle producers.
This is undoubtedly bad news for the many noodle lovers in Indonesia.
“Food prices are going up worldwide. Some countries see a 30 percent [price] increase, others even face a 50 percent rise. Thank God, our people, particularly our farmers, are still producing rice and we still manage to maintain the price [of rice] so far,” Jokowi said at the National Family Day event in Medan on Thursday.
Jokowi added Indonesia had a sufficient supply of rice. The Southeast Asian country is also on a three-year streak of no rice imports. Indonesia used to import between 1.5 and 2 million tons of rice from other countries.
Although rice remains relatively unaffected, the soaring wheat price could take a toll on noodles and bread.
"Our wheat imports reach 11 million tons. So to those who enjoy eating bread or noodles, be careful. Their prices can rise because of the war in Ukraine," Jokowi said.
The president recently embarked on a trip to Ukraine and Russia with the aim to initiate peace talks and solve the disrupted global food supply chain. During the trip, Jokowi asked the two countries' respective leaders —Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Vladimir Putin— about their current wheat stocks.
Jokowi said Ukraine had about 22 million tons of wheat in stock, and the new harvest would bring an additional 50 million tons. So Ukraine has approximately 77 million tons of wheat sitting in its silos.
"And Russia has 130 million tons. Imagine hundreds of millions of people rely on Ukrainian and Russian wheat," Jokowi said.
The Trade Ministry’s Market and Staple Goods Monitoring System (SP2KP) reported that the average price of medium-quality rice nationwide stood at Rp 10,400 (around $0.69) per kg on July 7. Its price remains unchanged compared to a month earlier.
Premium rice prices rose by 0.81 percent from Rp 12,400 per kg on June 7 to Rp 12,500 on July 7.
The average price of wheat flour was Rp 11,600 per kg on June 7. It now costs Rp 11,900 to buy one kg of wheat flour, thus marking a 2.59 percent increase.
Indonesia consumed 13.27 billion servings of instant noodles in 2021, according to the World Instant Noodles Association. The country’s demand for instant noodles had jumped by around 4.98 percent from 12.64 billion servings in the previous year.