Rice loading at Sai Gon Port in HCM City. (Photo: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesia will import 500,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam and Thailand to contain rice price hikes and declining supply in the local market, said Indonesian Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita.

The type of imported rice will be of premium quality, not grown in Indonesia, so it will not harm local farmers and rice production, Lukita said on January 12.

The country’s current rice stocks were estimated at about 950,000 tonnes, most of which is low-grade rice to be distributed as aid for low-income people. Meanwhile, the rice stocks for commercial purposes were only 11,000 tonnes.

Previously, Indonesia Vice President Jusuf Kalla had called on the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) to consider importing rice to bring down domestic prices.

According to the National Strategic Food Prices Information Centre (PIHPSN), the medium-quality rice is currently fetched at 14,100 IDR, or 1 USD, per kg.

The rice prices varied among regions. West Papua reported the highest price of 14,250 IDR per kg while the lowest price of over 9,700 IDR per kg was found in West Nusa Tanggara.-VNA