The Indonesian government is expediting imports of several foodstuffs in preparation for a surge in demand during this year’s Ramadan festivities. These will start in late April amid the coronavirus outbreak, officials say.
Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said on Friday the ministry had received a horticulture products import recommendation (RPIH) to import 90,000 tons of garlic, and would issue the import license for garlic in a matter of days. The decision came following a meeting with Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto and other related ministries and agencies in Jakarta.
The decision was made in response to rising prices of staple ingredients. According to the Information Center for Strategic Food Prices (PIHPS), the price of garlic currently stands at Rp 46,000 (US$3.61) per kilogram, almost double the usual Rp 25,000 to Rp 30,000 per kg. Meanwhile, the local sugar price stood at Rp 16,000 per kg, above the usual Rp 12,000 to Rp 14,000.
Rising garlic prices pushed up the volatile food inflation rate to 6.68 percent in February and the inflation rate to 2.98 percent from 2.68 percent in January, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS).
Indonesia produces 85,000 tons of garlic annually, which equates to only 10 percent of domestic demand. As such, the country has long relied on garlic imports from China, the world’s leading garlic producer.