Govt Says Food Price and Supply Under Control

Selasa, 25 Juni 2013 | 09:00

Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan sought to downplay concerns of food-price inflation, emphasizing on Monday that his ministry had taken to steps ensure adequate supply to meet increased demand over Ramadan.“The supply of the main commodities is sufficient for Ramadhan and Idul Fitri,” he said, as quoted by Antara news agency on Monday.

Inflationary pressure on food prices has been regarded as an inevitability with higher logistics costs a consequence of a reduction in the nation’s fuel subsidy. On June 21 the government announced the price of subsidized gasoline, known as Premium, had gone up from Rp 4,500 ($0.46) per liter to Rp 6,500, and that the price of subsidized diesel, known as Solar, had increased from Rp 4,500 per liter to Rp 5,500.

Gita said the Ministry of Trade had begun importing beef from Australia and New Zealand.

“There will be 15,000 cows delivered before the end of this month,” he said, “followed by 30,000 more in July.”

Gita added that consumers should expect an increase in the price of staples such as chilli, tomato and chicken during Ramadan, but that this was primarily due to opportunism among traders than a dearth in supply.

“Most of the price increase is because the sellers are taking bigger profits,” Gita said. “It is not because of a lack of supply, a weather anomaly or a failed harvest.”

Gita acknowledged the inflationary pressure on distribution costs as a result of the fuel-price increase, but said that prices rises were under control.

“The price increase is small, two percent up to four percent average across the nation,” Gita said at the State Palace.

Meanwhile, his ministry recorded the current price of shallots is Rp 13,000 per kilogram and Rp 8,000 for garlic.

The ministry has held meetings with poultry- and chilli-trading associations to ensure supply is sufficient. Gita said there would no shortage of chillies this year despite a delayed harvest.

“If the supplies are sufficient, we can keep the price stability,” he said, “as long as we can take firm action against opportunistic traders.”

By Ezra Sihite