Indonesia to targets zero rice imports, 5.5 mln tonne surplus
JAKARTA, July 4 — Indonesia is unlikely to import rice in 2012 and is forecast to have a 5.5 million tonne surplus of the staple by the end of the year, the state rice procurement agency, Bulog, said today.
Indonesia's unmilled rice production is forecast to rise 4.3 per cent this year on good weather, the statistics bureau said on Monday.
"Estimated rice output increase of 4.3 pct in 2012 may provide us a 5.5 million tonnes of rice surplus at the end of the year," said Bulog chief executive Sutarto Alimoeso. "Hopefully, we do not need to import rice this year."
Bulog usually maintains rice stocks of 1.5 million tonnes to 2 million tonnes.
Last year, Southeast Asia's largest economy imported 1.9 million tonnes of rice from Thailand, Vietnam and India, to ensure it had plentiful stocks and to avoid stoking food inflation.
Alimoeso said that stocks were at 2.376 million tonnes at the end of the first half of this year, and that the agency had set a target of buying a total of 4.1 million tonnes from Indonesian farmers for the full year.
Last year, the rice crop in Indonesia, which has monthly consumption of 2.7 million tonnes, was hit by heat and disease.
Southeast Asia's largest economy was self-sufficient in rice in the early 1980s, but the crop gradually declined as farmland was taken up for housing for a booming population, while rampant smuggling put pressure on growers.
The world's fourth most populous country is also pushing to cut consumption and boost yields and the area under rice in a self-sufficiency drive.
Indonesia's rice consumption is still rising, and at more than 139 kg (306 lb) per person a year it is among the highest in the world, the International Rice Research Institute says. — Reuters