Indonesia Considers Rice Export Amid Self-Sufficiency


Sep 19, 2022 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

Indonesia has a massive population of 275 million people and its Rice cultivation area covers a total of around 10 million hectares throughout the archipelago, primarily on sawah. Indonesia imported 1.5 to 2 million tons of Rice earlier, but in the previous three years, the country boosted its Rice production.

Based on the information provided by the Agriculture Ministry, national Rice production had reached 31.31 million tons in 2019, increased to 31.36 million tons in 2020, and then decreased to 31.33 million tons in 2021.

Indonesia’s Rice productivity level stagnated at around 5.1 tons per hectare in the past few years. One of the barriers to increased productivity is the lack of access by smallholder farmers to high-yielding seed varieties because very few companies are producing these seeds.

Indonesian President Jokowi stated that “If Rice seeds are planted properly, then inbred Rice seeds (Inpari) 32 and 42 could produce approximately up to 12 tons of Rice per hectare. Let us say, with an average production of only seven to eight tons, it is already a good deal for our food supplies, especially Rice.” According to the President, superior variety of Rice seeds played an essential role in boosting national Rice production that must be maximized in every hectare.

“I am sure that we will achieve self-sufficiency in Rice because we have not imported Rice for the past three years,” The President noted. From 2019 to 2021, Indonesia achieved a 90 percent self-sufficiency ratio in Rice production and demand ratio, demonstrating a high level of agri-food system resiliency, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizational (UN FAO).

Indonesia’s Rice Export Potential

Considering there was a large request for Rice from various countries, President Jokowi urged the Government to focus on increasing production on a large scale. Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo said Indonesia would soon export Rice to China, Brunei Darussalam, and Saudi Arabia. Plans for Rice exports are echoed in line with the large volume of domestic food commodity stocks. 

With requests from many countries, they only agreed to 100 thousand tons, but actually, we have an overstock of over 7 million tons. We don’t want to export but concede; hopefully, there will be no problems, Syahrul added.

According to him, the demand for Rice from the three countries was quite large. He said China submitted a request for Rice imports of 2.4 million tons per year. At the same time, Brunei Darussalam requested 100,000 tons per year. Then Saudi Arabia proposed a request for imports of 1,500 tons per year.

Plans for Indonesia to export Rice to China are already in motion. Indonesian Agricultural Minister already met with representatives of China to discuss an annual export of Rice reaching 2.5 million tons.

The astounding growth is seen as Indonesia went from importing approximately 2 million tons of Rice annually to exploring plans to export 200,000 tons of Rice to China and other countries in the coming months. The parties expect to draw up Memorandums of Understanding in the coming weeks on this transaction.

However, for the time being, it appears that the Government can only undertake exports of 100 thousand tons per year. The Government wants to keep securing domestic food needs. Accordingly, the reality of the present circumstances is that the transaction is far from fixed and is subject to further discussions during the internal meeting with the President.

So far, there are 22 countries that closed themselves to exports. Therefore, closing the export faucet by many countries is an opportunity for Indonesia to export food, including Rice.



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