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Indonesia's Bulog Looks to Increase Rice Distribution to Poor
Asia Pulse
JAKARTA, The State Logistics Agency (Bulog) has submitted a proposal to the Finance Ministry to increase by 300,000 tons the volume of rice to be distributed among the poor, a spokesman has said.
"We sent a letter to the Finance Ministry for additional Raskin (rice for the poor) last week but there has been no response so far," Bulog Director Widjanarko Puspoyo said here Wednesday.
The proposal, Widjanarko said, was based on demands from a number of provincial governors conveyed during a meeting recently.
The governors said at the meeting, their regions were short of low-priced rice for distribution among the poor.
Raskin is to be sold to poor people at the price of Rp1,000 (US$0.12) per kg with each family allowed to buy up to 20 kg.
Bulog has been distributing 178,000 tons of low-priced rice every month among poor families throughout Indonesia.
According to Widjanarko, the volume of low-priced rice for distribution among poor families urgently needed to be increased considering the current prolonged drought.
"Without permission from the Finance Ministry, Bulog cannot spend more of its funds. We hope no food scarcity will occur in some regions," Widjanarko said.
Bulog now had a rice stock for 12 months in all its regional divisions.
"Therefore, an increase in the volume of Raskin will be no problem," he added. Moreover, Bulog was continuing to procure rice in some regions.
The agency plans to procure a total of two million tons of rice in 2003 whereas as per August the agency had already collected 1.85 million tons.
According to data compiled by the Agriculture Ministry, the prolonged drought has affected 450,338 hectares of paddy fields in rice-producing regions while 91.122 hectares of paddy fields have been damaged.
With the average production of every hectare of rice fields standing at four tons, the drought may thus cause the country to lose 1.161 million tons of unhusked rice or a financial loss of Rp2 trillion as the current unhusked rice price is Rp1,725 per kg.
West Java suffered the most by the drought with 61,000 hectares of land affected and 26,030 hectares rendered uncultivable.
In Central Java, the drought has affected 20,231 hectares of land and in East Java and Aceh 4,058 hectares and 1,584 hectares respectively.
MGR Archive 29.8.2003
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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