A woman receives a free bag of rice from a military-run 'Rice ATM' in West Jakarta on May 4. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The Price of Rice Will Stabilize as Idul Fitri Approaches: Food Task Force
BY :TARA MARCHELIN
MAY 14, 2020
Jakarta. The National Police's Food Task Force has assured the public that the price of rice will remain stable during the Idul Fitri holiday and that the State Logistics Agency, or Bulog, has enough rice in their warehouses to satisfy demand.
"The recommended retail price for rice will stay at Rp 10,912 (70 cents) per kilogram as Idul Fitri approaches," National Police spokesman Chief Comr. Ahmad Ramadhan said on Thursday.
According to Ahmad, Bulog has 1.4 million tons of rice kept in its warehouses around the country, more than enough to meet demand during Idul Fitri.
However, Ahmad said seven provinces are currently experiencing a rice stock deficit: Riau, Riau Islands, North Kalimantan, Maluku, North Maluku, Bangka Belitung and West Papua.
"The Food Task Force has been trying to speed up rice distribution from rice-producing regions to these provinces," Ahmad said in an online press conference from the National Police headquarters.
The task force also estimated that demand for sugar from April to May would reach 700,000 tons and noted that there is currently a sugar stock deficit of 28,540 tons.
Ahmad said the shortage could be overcome by importing sugar. If that happens, the task force will also monitor its import and distribution.
"Meanwhile, the price of sugar has gone down 4.4 percent from Rp 17,062 to Rp 16,300," Ahmad said.
Prices for garlic, chili, egg and chicken are expected to rise between 1 percent and 29 percent.
Prices of shallot, beef and cooking oil are expected to fall between 0.01 percent and 5.9 percent.
"We're closely monitoring staple food distribution by inspecting markets and rounding up hoarders," Ahmad said.
Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto has appealed for people to avoid panic buying for Idul Fitri festivities.
"We have enough stock of staple food for everyone, and the prices will remain affordable," Agus said in an online press conference from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) headquarters in Jakarta.
The Trade Ministry has also issued a Covid-19 protocol for markets to limit the spread of coronavirus. Agus said every market now has to provide free masks and gloves for sellers.
Sellers and staff at traditional markets should get tested for Covid-19 using either the rapid test or the swab test that will be available from regional governments.
"Markets should erect a barrier fence to limit the number of visitors. They should keep it at 30 percent the number of visitors before the pandemic. Each visitor should stay no more than 2.5 hours at the market," he said.
Agus also said people should avoid shopping with cash at supermarkets and keep banknotes in a plastic bag when they shop at traditional markets.
"If at all possible, you should order your groceries online and get them delivered to your house instead of going out to shop," he said.