Indonesia to import 400,000 tonnes of rice

Jakarta — Indonesia plans to import 100,000 tonnes of rice from India through a bidding process in the South Asian nation, an Indonesian official said on Friday, as the world’s fourth-most populous country seeks to supplement domestic production. Indonesia will also import 300,000 tonnes of the staple from Vietnam for delivery by December 2012, foreign trade Director-General Deddy Saleh said, adding that state procurement agency Bulog would manage the purchase.

Vietnam could also sell a further 200,000 tonnes of rice to Indonesia under an agreement it signed with the world’s second biggest rice exporter, traders said this week. Rice import negotiations are underway with Thailand and Cambodia, but no decision has been made yet, Saleh said, adding that Thai rice prices remained too high for Indonesia.

No further details were made available on the government’s latest rice purchase deals. Bulog officials were not available for comment. The trade announcements come despite an expected increase of 4.9 percent in Indonesia’s 2012 rice production, as growing conditions and crop expansion improve its harvest prospects. Last year Southeast Asia’s largest economy produced 65.76 million tonnes of rice, which the government’s latest forecasts expect will climb to 68.96 million tonnes in 2012.

Indonesia has ambitious plans to maintain rice stocks of 10 million tonnes by 2014. The archipelago was self-sufficient in rice in the early 1980s, but its crops gradually fell as farmland was converted to housing for a growing population. Monthly rice consumption stands at about 2.7 million tonnes and is rising.[]

Reuters

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