Home Editorial INDONESIA NO LONGER IMPORTS RICE

INDONESIA NO LONGER IMPORTS RICE

Several days ago at a meeting, Indonesian Vice President, Jusuf Kalla was praised by Vietnamese delegation, as Indonesia no longer imports rice for 2016-2017 periods. Even, Indonesian Minister of Agriculture, Amran Sulaiman said that if necessary until 2019, Indonesia will no longer import rice from other countries. Indeed earlier, the rice demand of Indonesian people is not comparable with domestic supply so that the government is often forced to import rice from neighboring countries to meet the demand. But now, the supply of rice in the country is able to cover its high demand for rice. The impact of the discontinuation of rice imports by Indonesia is strongly felt by neighboring countries such Thailand and Vietnam. They said it is difficult for Thailand because Indonesia no longer imports rice from Thailand, whereas Indonesia is the largest rice export market for Thai rice. Besides Thailand and Vietnam, Minister Amran Sulaiman remarked that Food and Agriculture Organization -FAO also praised Indonesia that can meet the rice needs and no longer imports rice. Minister Amran views that the imports of food commodities are closely related to national pride. To be appreciated by other countries, Indonesia should be able to meet its people’s food needs. Indonesia is actually an agricultural country which produces food commodities, especially rice. But along with the growth of population, the demand is increasing. Unfortunately, Indonesia only experienced the era of rice self-sufficiency in 1969 until 1984. Afterwards, Indonesia is not able to meet the demand for rice in the country, and consequently it had to import rice in quite large quantities. Now, it is the time to prove that Indonesia does not need to import rice from neighboring countries. Indonesia should be proud of having successfully passed through rice insufficiency. This success should not make Indonesia complacent and it is expected to continue until the next generations.

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