Hello Good People ! Last Sunday Night we’ve discussed about a trending news in Indonesia about nation’s most essential food: Rice. What?! What is wrong? How could such important thing went wrong? Curious? So do we. That is why we’re here to give you facts regarding this matter in AgriTalk Last Week. Keep on reading, it will be very interesting.
A few weeks ago, our country got another new problem; it is about rice. A company which buys, stocks, and distributes premium rice grains got swept out by the National Police. They were accused of buying the rice grains higher than the standard selling prices or HET (Highest Retail Price). Mr. Mentan, the owner of the respected company, actually have a good will to increase the welfare of the farmers. Unfortunately, because of that will, the company is at edge of bankruptcy even as we speak.
It all started when a group of police initialize a raid at a warehouse located at Kedungwaringin, Bekasi, on Thursday (20/07) night. Food Task Force commanded the National Police to seize as much as 1,161tons of rice branded as Maknyuss and Ayam Jago, which are premium rice brands. Chief of National Police of Indonesia, General Tito Karnavian, revealed the information that PT IBU has been packing IR64 rice – a subsidized type of rice — with premium labels such as Maknyuss and Ayam Jago.
“Whereas IR64 rice is a government-subsidized medium rice priced at Rp 9.000 per kilogram, after being wrapped and labeled, they sold them at Rp20.000,” Tito told reporters. PT IBU is suspected to reap huge profits from the “mislabeled” rice. According to the Police Officer, the profit can reach tens to hundreds of trillion rupiah. They were also accused for making ‘Self-Mixed Rice’ or “Beras Oplosan”.
Based on the data, the market price for rice on farm is around Rp7.000 per kilogram and the market price for premium grains in retail stores are at Rp20.000 per kilogram. Substract the difference between prices and we will get as low as Rp10,000 per kilogram. If we multiply it by a circulating premium rice estimated around 1 million tons – 2.2% from 45 million tons of rice produced a year— we will get an outrageous amount of money, grossing at 10 Trillion Rupiah.
Two days before the raid, the Ministry of Trade issued Regulation of the Minister of Trade (Permendag) No.47 / 2017 on Food Reference Price acting as revision of Permendag No.27 / 2017, sets the retail price of rice at Rp 9.000 per kg for medium type rice (earlier, Kemendag sets the retail prices for consumer at Rp 9.500 on May 2017.) This rule is considered ambiguous. Chairman of the United Indonesian Rice Millers and Rice Entrepreneurs (Perpadi), Sutarto Alimoeso, pointed that this rule did not explain the exact rice criteria explicitly. It does not distinguish the difference between medium and premium rice.
Sutarto predicted that the price was set to reference consumer that the rice grain pricing at Rp 9.000 are considered as medium rice, which were bought from the farmers at Rp3.700. “The retail price for premium rice should be re-regulated again. We are trying to communicate with the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Task Force. Hopefully we can make win-win solution without making any selfish interpretation.” He added.
Prof. Dr. Nuri Andarwulan, a food expert from Bogor Agricultural University, states that although, various types of rice are mixed and then sold, there is no such term as “Beras Oplosan”. Even if there were rice traders who mix rices from various classes and then sell them, it is actually an ordinary thing to do. So far, there is no regulation that regulates the mixing of rice grains. Company who mix rice and sell it can be considered as innocent.
“There is no regulation that regulates Pandan-Scented rice must be at 100% pure. So, if there were Companies that has been mixing rices, they didn’t break any regulation that prohibits such acts.” added the Director of SEAFAST Center of Bogor Agricultural University . In fact, even if we eat premium, medium, or mixed rice, the effect is still same for our body as a source of calories.