JAKARTA (JAKARTA POST) – Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman and Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita made impromptu visits to several traditional markets in Jakarta on Thursday to check on the prices of staple goods ahead of the upcoming Ramadhan festivities in May.

Amran said the government had provided sufficient stocks of staple foods nationwide, with rice stock having reached two million tons, enough to meet demand for 10 months, while sugar stock and beef stock stood at 360,000 tons and 40,000 tons, respectively.

“Even the chili price has decreased from above Rp 100,000 (AUD 9.99) to around Rp 40,000 (AUD 3.97) per kilogram at the moment. Some vendors are even selling it for Rp 20,000 (AUD 2.00) per kg,” he said.

Meanwhile, Enggartiasto said with the sufficient stocks, he was optimistic that the prices of the goods could be stabilized, supported by his administration’s effort to crack down on illegal vendors.

Especially for rice, Enggartiasto said he had obligated all distributors, sub-distributors and agents nationwide to register their businesses and report their stocks.

“If there are reports of soaring [prices] in rice due to illegal hoarding, we will soon send extra goods to the area. We’ll prevent [illegal] players [from operating] by doing that,” he said, adding the same tactic would also apply to illegal beef vendors.

The two ministries were cooperating to periodically monitor the prices, Enggartiasto said, adding their administrations would evaluate the prices in November. (yon/ags)

Source: Ministers make impromptu visits to traditional markets to inspect food prices – Business – The Jakarta Post