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Import relaxations not enough to secure Indonesian garlic supply

The Indonesian government recently restructured its import policies, but this move has failed to ensure a steady supply of garlic as importers have been late to complete garlic imports, according to Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) commissioners.

KPPU commissioner Guntur Saragih said on Thursday that the Trade Ministry needed to evaluate its importers because garlic prices were currently high even though the government had rolled out import relaxations.

"Under current conditions, a mere relaxation is not enough. There needs to be an emphasis on industry players promptly completing their imports because what we need is stock availability," Guntur stated.

Guntur's statement came after the Trade Ministry issued a policy that temporarily removed import permit letters and surveyor's reports for importers from March 19 to May 31. The ministry previously claimed that importers would no longer need import recommendations for horticulture products from the Agriculture Ministry, though the latter has since refuted the claim.

According to, garlic and brown onion prices have spiked in the last three months as a result of an increasing shortage of the two commodities.

The Trade Ministry had imported 11,000 tons of garlic as of March 19, but this is far short of its 150,000-ton quota. It had yet to announce its latest figures for brown onion imports as of Friday.

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