JAKARTA – The Ministry of Agriculture continues to address the challenge of a significant increase in chili prices due to extreme climate change, including drought that affects water supply for chili farmers.
The government has taken a number of very serious steps to maintain chili availability and price stability.
It was observed that the price of chillies in the market experienced a significant spike. In some places, the price reached IDR 100,000 per kilogram although farmers still sell it at around IDR 60,000 per kilogram.
Responding to this, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said that the high price of chillies is seasonal and is believed to decrease as the season changes.
“Chillies are the ones that have risen the most, but this is seasonal. If the season is like this, it must (rise). But the others, like shallots, garlic, eggs, I see them in a stable condition,” President Jokowi said during his visit to SMK 1 Purwakarta.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture Andi Amran Sulaiman is planning a Chilli Village programme with the aim of creating new centres in each district as a response to rising chilli prices.
In addition, there will also be a Pekarangan Pangan Lestari (P2L) or Sustainable Food Yard programme to encourage people to grow chillies in their yards with free, high-yielding seeds.
If this programme is carried out by every household, it is believed that it can strengthen the family’s economic resilience.
Director General of Horticulture Prihasto Setyanto identified the increase in chili prices as a result of weather anomalies that resulted in the recent drought.
To address this, the Ministry of Agriculture has taken measures, including distributing supplies from production surplus areas to shortage areas and a deep well pumping programme.
“In accordance with the Minister’s direction, we are currently preparing measures, including the distribution of goods mobilization from production surplus areas to areas that are deficient and adding assistance to the deep well pump program so that in the future this problem can be resolved,” Prihasto explained.
“We have also sent protection, marketing, and seeding teams to carry out control movements, hold cheap markets, and distribute chili seeds for planting in pots,” he continued.
In addition, he also encouraged farmers to choose chili varieties wisely and process them into useful derivative products.
Despite the high price of chillies, the government insists that there will be no import of fresh chillies to maintain domestic price stability.
It should be understood that the national chili production reaches 241,226 tonnes per month, with details of cayenne pepper production at 124,212 tonnes and large chili at 117,014 tonnes.
However, the demand for chillies reaches 153,440 tonnes per month with prices at the wholesale level varying depending on the variety.
In response to this situation, the Chairman of the Indonesian Chilli Champion, Tunov, explained that extreme climate conditions, particularly drought, have affected chili production.
Many farmers, according to him, face difficulties in growing chillies due to the lack of water supply.
Hence, Tunov hopes that the government and stakeholders can work together and provide support to Indonesian chili farmers to ensure the sustainability of chili production in the future.
Concluding his statement, Tunov said that the increase in chili prices was a boon for farmers, and he hoped that the city people could understand the situation.
The increase in the price of chillies is not expected to last long.
“The increase in chili prices is a necessity, it’s a gift for us as farmers. Usually, when chillies are cheap, we are the ones who get into debt here and there. We thank God that the price of chillies is high. We hope the people of the city can understand. It won’t take long,” he concluded.
The government remains committed to addressing this issue in the short and long term, with the hope that chili price stability can be restored and supply assured.
Measures such as P2L, supply distribution, and improved agricultural infrastructure are part of the effort.
Facing the dynamics of climate change, cooperation from all parties is expected to help maintain the availability of chili for the community.