An Indonesian official has said that his countrymen might find it difficult to buy garlic during the festival of Ramadan this year if the country fails to get imports from China soon.
Food Resilience Agency (BKP) head Agung Hendriadi said that the garlic stock had already fallen to 80,000 tons as of Thursday. With monthly garlic consumption of some 46,000 tons, current stocks would only suffice until April.
So far, the Trade Ministry has only issued import permit letters for 62,000 tons out of 103,000 tons recommended by the Agriculture Ministry. Agung urged the Trade Ministry to issue a permit for at least 80,000 tons of garlic to fulfil domestic needs.
“We are also trying to [import] from other countries like India and Thailand that also produce garlic,” he told reporters after a discussion with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) in Jakarta on Thursday.
The latest import effort aims to maintain supply and avoid further price increases amid the coronavirus outbreak. The virus has been blamed for the diminishing garlic supply from China, thereby spiking the commodity’s price in Indonesia.
This is not the first time that garlic prices have skyrocketed. Last year, garlic prices spiked to more than Rp 80,000 per kg due to import recommendations not being issued until April 2019.