Indonesia plans to buy at least 3.5 million tonnes of rice from farmers to meet the stock of 1.5 million tonnes in 2011 as an effort to curb inflation, a government official has said.

Indonesia ’s inflation rate expanded to 7.02 percent in January 2011 after hitting 6.96 percent in December 2010, due to the soaring price of rice and chili.

Minister for Economy Harta Rajasa said the Indonesian Logistics Agency (Bulog) will soon start purchasing the rice as February is the beginning of what promises to be a large harvest.

He said the amount held in reserve may increase to 2 million tonnes.

Additionally, Indonesia will continue with its policy to strengthen the exchange rate between the rupiah and the US dollar.

Indonesia ’s Central Bank forecasts that the country’s inflation rate will fluctuate between 4-6 percent by the end of the year, while economic growth will reach between 6-6.5 percent./.