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Encouraging Price Stability: Committee II of DPD RI Calls The Minister of Agriculture and Related Parties

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JAKARTA – Committee II of Indonesian Regional Representative Council (DPD RI) had invited the Minister of Agriculture, Deputy Minister of Trade, the National Food Agency, and the President Director of Perum Bulog to encourage the stability of food prices ahead of Eid al-Fitr 1445 H.

“The increase in the price of basic commodities can have a negative impact if not handled properly, it can even increase the poverty rate ahead of Eid al-Fitr,” said Vice Chairman of Committee II of DPD RI Bustami Zainudin with Chairman of Committee II of DPD RI Yorris Raweyai, Vice Chairman of Committee II of DPD RI Abdullah Puteh, and Aji Mirni Mawarni when opening the working meeting to discuss the availability and stability of staple prices ahead of Eid al-Fitr 1445 H, at the GBHN Building of MPR/DPR/DPD Parliament Complex, Senayan Jakarta, Tuesday (2/4/2024).

The committee sees a number of strategic food commodities have experienced price increases, with some having experienced it a while ago.

Data from the National Food Agency price panel shows that the price of rice as of 1 March 2024 has exceeded the Highest Retail Price (HET).

The price increase is due to a decrease in rice production due to extreme climate change, exacerbated by an increase in fertilizer prices.

A number of commodities such as purebred chicken meat, eggs, and bulk cooking oil, also observed significant increases in the last 1 (one) month.

Bustami explained that this price increase needs to be seen from both the consumer side and the producer side.

From the consumer side, the increase in the price of a number of commodities causes an increase in inflation and a decrease in people’s purchasing power.

Meanwhile, from the producer side, the increase in chicken prices does not necessarily provide benefits for farmers.

“Therefore, we, Committee II of DPD RI, need to conduct a comprehensive discussion to evaluate the development of food prices with relevant stakeholders,” continued Bustami.

During the working meeting, Minister of Agriculture Andi Amran Sulaiman explained some of the problems that caused food production to fall, including the volume of fertilizer production that was drastically reduced from the previous year’s period and also the extreme climate.

He explained that, nationally, the availability of 12 staple foods from January to December 2024 is sufficient.

In addition, he mentioned some food commodities that have the potential to be imported in 2024 are rice, corn, soybeans, garlic, beef/lamb meat, and sugar.

“We are moving quickly through limited meetings, looking for the best solutions, including fertilizer allocation, land optimisation, with the acceleration of mechanization of modern agricultural equipment to accelerate the agricultural process, all of these have been budgeted,” said Andi Amran.

He added that the government is currently taking steps to maximize agricultural land in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi islands to boost food production.

“The plan has been calculated there are about 1 million hectares in and outside Java prepared to boost and maximize food production,” he added.

Likewise, Deputy Minister of Trade Jerry Sambuaga added several steps taken by the Ministry of Trade to maintain the availability and stability of staple food prices ahead of Eid al-Fitr 1445 H.

Food inflation is relatively under control in early 2024, but it is necessary to anticipate the historical tendency of inflation to increase in the Eid period.

The price increase was driven by collective leave and school holidays, increased consumption trends, and stronger purchasing power.

“Food inflation is under control but it should be anticipated that it will increase in the Ramadan period because consumption will increase,” he said.

Jerry added that there is a need to strengthen coordination between local governments and Perum Bulog, by maintaining the HET in the market to maintain food price stability.

In the previous coordination meeting between related ministries/agencies (K/L), the government will intensively conduct monitoring and supervision.

“The government will also intervene massively in the market to ensure the availability of stocks and supplies, then ensure smooth distribution and positive communication between related ministries/institutions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Principal Secretary of the National Food Agency (Bapanas) Sarwo Edhy said that the national food balance projection for the January-April 2024 period is in a safe condition.

Actions taken by Bapanas include distribution of SPHP and commercial rice, cheap food movement, food distribution facilitation, distribution of SPHP corn, food aid, and coordination of food stabilization during HKBN together with relevant K/L.

“From our data and projections regarding government reserves, although there is a decrease, it is still in a safe condition,” said Sarwo Edhi.

At the same time, President Director of Perum Bulog Bayu Khrisnamukti outlined the condition of rice prices in the general market until March 2024.

Currently, he conveyed, Bulog has 1.1 million tonnes of stock spread across Indonesia to maintain rice price stability and will be strengthened by domestic rice purchases.

“We will soon launch a farmer partner programme to provide support for the Ministry of Agriculture’s programmes ranging from seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and agricultural tools to boost production,” Bayu said. 

At the meeting, Deputy Chairman of Committee II Abdullah Puteh highlighted the large amount of agricultural land outside Java, but it became stalled because it was not supported by agricultural technology and especially irrigation channels and procurement in supporting agricultural production.

“It must be considered from upstream to downstream related to sustainable agricultural production in realizing food security and sovereignty, do not let the problem repeat itself,” he concluded.

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