Government’s rice reserves up to this date amounts to approximately 500 thousand tons. This amount is still considered too undersized considering that Indonesia consists of islands and has a very large population. This figure is also very small when compared with the rice reserves in China by 34 million tons, India 7 million tons, Thailand 2 million tons, Japan 1 million tons, Vietnam 1 million tons, and Philippines 750 thousand tons. "This numbers are still small compared to other countries. Well, the embodiment of the government's rice reserves itself was started in 2005, financed through the state budget in order to obtain 350 thousand tons of rice," said General Director of Bulog(Bureau of Logistic Affairs), Ir. Sutarto Alimoeso, M.M, in his speech at the signing event of MoU between Bulog and UGM in the Multimedia Room, Friday (1/7).
Sutarto assessed the importance of national rice reserves for the benefit of the community, especially in times of turmoil in rice prices and natural disasters. Indonesia with the widespread regions, geographical condition that consists of islands in disaster-prone areas should have evenly distributed stock of rice throughout the areas. Rice reserves should be constantly updated and always available nationally to meet the objectives of the program. "The objective of the program is to meet the rice needs of community that is experiencing emergencies and post-disaster food insecurity," he said.
Sutarto added the fundamental problems of food affairs is to achieve food security and food price controls, including an increasingly scarce availability of food, increasingly difficult affordability, both physically and economically, as well as food safety issues. Given that problem, there is a tendency of the food situation (especially rice), both in domestic and international markets, to become more unpredictable and unstable. "So, in order to stabilize prices and inflation control, comprehensive government policy in food and agriculture is required," said former Director General of Food Plant of the Ministry of Agriculture.
UGM Rector, Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi, M. Eng., Ph.D., in his speech welcomed the cooperation of both parties. The MoU that has been signed indicates the trust of Bulog to lecturers and experts from UGM to assess the influence of Public Service Obligation (PSO) of Bulog against the risk of inflation and budget. "Therefore, the synergy between the sciences on campus and science in the field is necessary," said Sudjarwadi.
Sudjarwadi also hoped that the cooperation is not only aimed for the short term, but also can add insight and knowledge of all parties in the medium to long terms. "Therefore, the benefits will be gained, especially if you see at the role of food that is very important to the prosperity and welfare of a nation," he said.
The scope of cooperation agreed upon today is in the field of research policy on the amount of the budget in the state budget associated with the intervention of Bulog in the course of the PSO activity in order to achieve a reasonable level of inflation. The aimed ultimate objective is to give a significant role in national economic development through the well-managed control of food inflation.