Agricultural Observer from the Indonesian Political Economy Association (AEPI) Khudori responded to the cancellation of rice imports from India of 1 million ton. This step is regrettable because the price of rice in the country is soaring.
Previously, Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan alias Zulhas confirmed that the import of 1 million tonnes of rice from India was cancelled. Zulhas said rice imports were canceled because India was stopping its rice exports to secure domestic supply. Food prices in the country, said Zulhas, are soaring and causing high inflation.
Khudori said, from the beginning the plan to import 1 million tonnes of rice from India was a precaution or anticipation. In particular, if El Nino causes rice production to drop drastically and imports are not easy to obtain. Therefore, the scheme is made in the form of a purchase contract.
The contract will be brought in if Indonesia really needs it. If not, the purchase contract is not realized.
Khudori views India’s rice policy as very dynamic, changing, even confusing. Including the policy on July 20 which closed exports of non-basmati rice and broken rice. The new policy plan, according to him, seems very likely to change again.
He said India is currently facing high inflation, especially from food inflation. India also faces challenges in the production of agricultural commodities, including rice. But that, said Khudori, is not only faced by India. Other rice producers, such as Vietnam, Thailand, China and Indonesia are also facing the same problem.
He underlined that wherever the government will take part in the election, it will protect food prices and inflation. However, for Indonesia, India’s protective policies did not have a big impact. Because most of our imports from India are broken rice. Most of the imports of broken rice or groats are for industry.
On the other hand, he considered that there was an indirect impact from India’s rice policy, namely in the form of an increase in rice prices after India’s policy was issued. Paddy production in India is also expected to decline, but the decline will be slight. This policy only makes sense in the context of election contestation,” he said.