RI does not need to import rice in 2014

Senin, 11 Februari 2013 | 08:59

Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said that Indonesia would not need to import rice in 2014 because the government was currently encouraging self-reliance in a number of sectors, including rice."The government is obliged to hear and seek solutions to the problems being faced by farmers. I hope in my current visit here I would be able to hear and provide solutions to the problems of local farmers in Lampung," the minister said here on Sunday.

Hatta, who is also the chief patron of the Reliable Farmers and Fishermen Association (KTNA), said the government had taken strategic steps to improve the welfare of farmers.

"Besides rice self-sufficiency program, the government is also encouraging self-efficiency in sugar and soybean production," the minister who was holding a get-to-gather with KTNA members in Lampung province, said.

In the meantime, the state logistics agency (Bulog) said on Thursday it was determined not to import rice this year if the unhulled rice production target of 72 million tons can be achieved.

"We are determined not to import rice if our production can increase. We have adequate stocks early this year," Bulog President Director Sutarto Alimoeso said on the sidelines of a function marking the company`s 10th anniversary here on Thursday.

Bulog`s purchase of domestic rice more than doubled to 3.678 million tons last year from 1.742 million tons a year earlier, he said.

The 2012 rice purchase was the highest since Bulog transformed into a state logistics agency, he said.

"This is the first to happen in Bulog`s history," he said at the function also attended by State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan.

Besides good harvest, he attributed the achievement to four strategies, namely push-and-pull, ant networks, incentives, and on-farm.

"In essence, our field officers must be active in buying rice from farmers. In implementing procurement programs, we also involve farmer society networks," he said.

The success to buy great quantities of farmer`s rice has enabled Bulog to reduce rice imports to 670 thousand tons from 1 million tons allowed for this year, he said.

As of December 31, 2012, Bulog successfully maintained rice stocks at an all time high of 2.27 million, he said.

Bulog has set itself the target of supplying 3.55 million tons of rice this year, which is enough to maintain rice stocks at 2.2 million tons by the end of this year.  (A014)

source http://www.antaranews.com