Against the Grain

20 Sep 2006

Hundreds of Indonesian farmers from around the country gathered in Jakarta on Tuesday to rally against the government’s plan to import 210,000 kilograms of rice, protesting that this could destroy their livelihoods. While the government says the imports are necessary to maintain rice stocks, farmers are threatening to block entry of the imported rice into some ports.

The Indonesian Farmers Federation (FSPI) have declared the import plan as a “ploy devised by middlemen to enrich themselves”, and representatives from some of the country’s biggest rice-supplying regions say the rice imports will deal a severe blow to small farmers. A farmer from the Karawang region reported that news of the import ban had already bought down the price of their un-hulled rice.

Commission IV member Bomer Pasaribu of the Golkar Party said the import plan was evidence that the government has failed miserably to maintain the food sustainability the country attained in the late 1980s and that “it’s high time the government gave incentives to farmers so that we can once again achieve sustainability and not resort to imports”.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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