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Rice stock secure in facing El Niño peak: Agriculture Minister

18 July 2023

File - A worker removes sacks of rice at a Bulog warehouse in Kelapa Gading, Jakarta, on April 6, 2023. (ANTARA FOTO/Indrianto Eko Suwarso/tom)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The domestic rice stock is secure in facing the peak of El Niño, estimated to occur in August-September 2023, stated Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Limpo on Tuesday.

"Until July, we have harvested over 800 thousand hectares. In August, we will harvest over 800 thousand hectares. Therefore, our overstock is still above 2 million (tonnes)," he noted after a closed meeting led by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.

Despite this, the president instructed all parties not to be overly confident and to remain vigilant about the worst possible impacts of El Niño, he remarked.

"The president said that this (El Niño) cannot be anticipated with calculations alone. The things that can be done should still be optimized," he explained.

Nevertheless, Limpo believes that there will be no rice scarcity when El Niño occurs, as rice stock and production are still sufficient. Moreover, despite the forecasted drought, he found several provinces to be well-watered.

"I just visited Papua, Sulawesi, Central Java, West Java, South Sumatra, and it turns out the water there is still abundant. We also cannot be too pessimistic because who knows if this (El Niño) can end up energizing us," he remarked.

In addition to rice, Jokowi and ministers also discussed the availability of other food commodities, such as chicken meat and eggs. Limpo said that the chicken meat and eggs stocks are also secure.

However, he emphasized that if there is a price hike for these two food commodities, it would be a challenge for everyone.

As prices continue to fluctuate, President Jokowi called on all ministries to control the prices of these commodities, he remarked.

El Niño is a phenomenon characterized by abnormally high sea surface temperatures (SST) in the central Pacific Ocean.

This increase in SST enhances cloud formation potential in the central Pacific Ocean and reduces rainfall in the Indonesian region. Therefore, El Niño can trigger drought in the Indonesian region.

Source: Antara News