Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
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Indonesian industry says rice imports not needed
Pressure is mounting on the Indonesian government to drop a rice import plan as domestic production, according to analysts and the local farm lobby, would be sufficient to cover demand this year.

This could mean the country may end up importing little or no rice at all, much to the disappointment of major exporters such as Thailand and Vietnam.

Indonesia earlier this month scrapped a ban on rice imports, raising hopes in major exporting countries of an unexpected rise in demand in the remaining months of 2005.

While Indonesian rice output this year may be lower than in 2004, it is still sufficient to cover domestic demand, said Siswono Yudohusodo, chairman of the advisory board of Indonesia Farmers Association, or HKTI.

"Most rice-producing regions are having good harvests because the drought was mild this year," said Yudohusodo. "Imports aren't necessary because the domestic rice output is still sufficient."

The government's Central Bureau Statistic, or BPS, has estimated that 2005 rice output will likely fall 2% to 53.01 million tons of unhusked rice, sufficient to produce 32.25 million tons of husked rice.

With total rice consumption estimated at 30.63 million tons, Indonesia will still have a surplus 1.62 million tons of rice at the end of the year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

On Sept. 9, the government lifted a ban of nearly two years on rice imports, allowing state logistics agency, Bulog, to import up to 250,000 tons of rice starting October to keep its stocks at 1.6 million tons at the end of the year.

While the government has yet to issue the import permits to Bulog, pressure is mounting from the industry to drop the plan.

In a recent report to legislators, Bulog had said its rice stocks stood at 1.64 million tons Sept. 8, sufficient for about nine months.

"Rice stocks at that level are adequate," said Bustanul Arifin, an economist with the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance, or Indef. "Beside, 250,000 tons isn't adequate to strengthen stocks."
MGR Archive 23.9.2005
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