YOGYAKARTA - Professor of Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Prof. Dr. Ir. Mochammad Maksum, M.Sc., assessed the price jump of basic and agricultural commodities will continue to occur towards Lebaran. The price increase is not considered reasonable and burdening small people. "This condition is very worrying because it is about the basic needs of the people who are fasting," Maksum said in a seminar at Centre for Rural and Regional Studies (PSPK), Thursday (4/8) afternoon.
Maksum said that the price of some commodities of basic needs jumped sharply. His observation showed that the increase in rice price has caused inflation by 22 percent, price increase in chicken meat 19 percent, followed by the increase in beef price, sugar, and peanuts. "The market price of some food commodities is even out of public’s reach. Beef price even rises again," he said.
For rice, according to Maksum, is the most strategic commodity. However, the management of this basic food commodity has never been addressed seriously. The policy is seen as not ready. He cited the large number of surplus production of 3.9 million tons in 2010 does not necessarily make the government to stop the rice import policy. Instead, the government imported 2 million tons of rice, even rice surplus accumulation is estimated at 11.9 million tons by the end of 2011 and plus 6 million tons of production surplus. "This import policy does not actually make farmers prosperous. On the other hand, the government wants the cheap price of rice," he said.
Although importation policy is a commonplace activity in the trade system, the affairs of rice is not solely economic problem, moreover to assess that the price of imported rice is cheaper. "This principle is very misleading because in a grain of rice, there appear politics, sovereignty and justice," he said.
Therefore, rice import policy should be reviewed by the government in order to protect domestic farmers and agriculture to maintain the sustainability of rice production amidst world food shortages. Now, almost every country conducts protective policies and push exports in the framework of sovereignty and food security respectively. Thailand and Japan, for example, apply rice production protection policy, Russia with its wheat policy. Meanwhile, America, Australia and several European countries protect the production of cattle. "The food war has already started. China and India have done multi-years of strengthening," he said.
Maksum suggested that the habit of rice import by the government is terminated immediately. "The choice is not easy. All has consequences. What cannot be negotiable are the imports which are more difficult and expensive, let alone to stop the farmer’s economy, the majority of citizens of this nation," he concluded.