Eradicating Food Cartel to Maintain Stability

Monday, 22 May 2017 , 09:00:00 WIB - Economy

Chairman of the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU), Syarkawi Rauf (middle), Deputy Chief of West Java Regional Police, Brig. Gen. Bambang Purwanto (second right), are seen monitoring some basic commodities when they conducted an unannounced inspection at Cihaurgeulis Market, Bandung, West Java, Saturday (20/5). (ANTARA)

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS – Prior to the Ramadan month, food prices start to rise. The government is paying attention to the issue, and they will give serious punishments to food hoarders to maintain the stability of food prices.

Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman calls for war against food cartel that hoards agriculture products to make food prices skyrocket. "We have coordinated with the Trade Minister, and importers who hoard food by intention will get their permits revoked. The Agriculture Minister won’t give any recommendation to importers who hoard foods," said the Agriculture Minister in a written statement, Saturday (20/5/2017).

Food prices start to hike prior to Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. For instance, garlic price increases from Rp22,000/kg to Rp48,000/kg. In some regions, garlic price skyrockets to Rp60,000/kg.

One of the factors that causes the price hike is the distribution chain that involves brokers between farmers and suppliers in the market.

The government starts to pay more attention to food distribution as distributors contribute to food prices in the market. To resolve the issue, President Jokowi ordered the officials to secure food stocks, and maintain the stability of food prices prior to Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.

Therefore, the government forms a food security task force that comprises of the National Police (Polri), the Agriculture Ministry, the State Logistics Agency (Bulog), and the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU).

Food security task force has the responsibility to fight food cartel that causes food prices instability. After the government had formed the task force, the task force has arrested a food hoarder who hoarded 182 tons of garlic in a warehouse in Marunda.

The task force is also capable of importing 9,000 tons of garlic so the commodity would be distributed to markets on Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. "Therefore, we guarantee food availability and stable prices prior to Ramadan," Amran said.

To fight the issue, the Agriculture Minister has developed farmers shop (Toko Tani) network to shorten the chain of food distribution. The shops are spread across Indonesia, and they have cooperated with transportation service company that will deliver the commodities to consumers directly. Therefore, consumers will get fresh food products with a normal price.

Speaking about garlic commodity, the Agriculture Ministry has revised the Horticulture Products Import Recommendation (RIPH) No.83/2013 into the Agriculture Minister Regulation No.16.2017 that obliges garlic importers to plant 5% of the total imports per year. (dtc/mfb)