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Indonesia estimates Jan-Feb rice output to drop 46%

04 January 2024

Farmers harvest rice paddies in a field in Tral town in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, India October 1, 2023. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain Image used for illustrative purpose.

Indonesia's rice output in January and February this year is estimated at 2.25 million metric tons, agriculture ministry data showed on Wednesday, a 46.3% drop from the same period a year ago as El Nino hits harvests.

A prolonged drought driven by the El Nino weather event is expected to reduce Indonesia's rice output by 2% in 2023, while planting for this year's main harvest season has been delayed.

Indonesia's meteorological agency BMKG forecast El Nino would remain in early 2024 and gradually neutralise by April.

January's rice harvest is expected to produce 930,000 tons, with February's estimated to produce 1.32 million tons, against monthly consumption of 2.54 million tons.

"If we only rely on domestic production in January, it will be a deficit, however we have a carry over stock from December," agriculture ministry director Inti Pertiwi told a weekly coordination meeting on inflation.

Data from Indonesia's National Food Agency (NFA) shows the country's rice stock at end of 2023 stood at 7.46 million tons, including stock held by households and wholesalers.

"The stock would be sufficient up to March, while the main harvest may be delayed until April, May," NFA senior official Sarwo Edhy told the meeting.

Indonesia has set a target to produce 32 million tons of rice in 2024, up 3.56% from an estimated 30.9 million last year.

As the rainy season has started, Indonesia expects to plant 1.7 million hectares (4.2 million acres) of rice in January and 1.4 million hectares in February, President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday. (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Editing by Mark Potter)

Source : zawya