Introductory Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia In Limited Meeting through Video Conference On Anticipation of Staple Food Demand Tuesday, 21 April 2020 at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Distingushed Vice President,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
We will discuss anticipatory measures to be done to meeting people’s demand for staple foods. In the last meeting, I have mentioned that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had warned that the COVID-19 pandemic will bring global food crisis. We need to remain vigilant.
Therefore, all countries particularly rice producing countries will prioritize their own needs, their domestic demand for staple food. In addition, food supply chain will be disrupted due to lockdown policy. Thus, lockdown policy will affect food supply chain.
For that reason, I want to underline several points of note, first, ensuring the availability of staple food. Do calculate our national rice production, calculate the estimated rice production during drought season. Also calculate for how long we can still use our rice reserve, calculate it carefully. Do not overestimate it, calculate it carefully and in details based on valid and reliable empirical data.
Second, supply chain should be based on the dynamics of people’s need. Do ensure the protection of farmers in the supply chain. Perform good governance to avoid deceptive practices. I also instruct food task force to coordinate with the police in supervising supply chain and food stock.
Third, we must maintain affordable price of staple food for the people. There should be no price increase. In fact, the price of rice sligthly goes up. There has been no change of the price of sugar, instead, the price increases to Rp19,000. The price of garlic and onion have not returned to normal. I have no idea if the Ministry of Trade has noticed that the price on the ground has not gone down. I also notice that although the price of dry unhusked rice reduced by 5 percent, the price of rice increased by 0.4 percent. What is going on? Please monitor the price. Do monitor it, there must be something wrong, since a decrease in the price of dry unhusked rice means a lower price of rice. It indicates that the farmers do not get any profit, while the price of rice increases and hurts the people. Who is profiting from this? Go find it out. In the second week of April, the price of several commodities was still high, such as meat, bird’s eye chili, shallot, garlic, and sugar. Meanwhile, the price that went down was chicken.
Fourth, let us use the situation during COVID-19 pandemic as a momentum, once again, seize this momentum to undertake massive reform in our country’s food policy. Do not lose the momentum.
And that concludes my introductory remarks.
Translated by Rany Anjany S
Reviewed by Mia Medyana B