Indonesia ’s rice production may reach 71 million tons this year, up 2.3 percent from the July forecast of 69 million tonnes, the country’s Central Statistics Agency (BPS) has announced.

BPS said the amount has exceeded the national appetite of 36 million tonnes of rice per year, allowing the country cease its imports of rice in the remaining months of 2013.

This is a motivation for the completion of a range of new food production targets recently set by the Government to ease dependence on imported commodities and stabilise food prices.

The agency reported that Indonesia has expanded its rice growing area to 324,000 hectares, raising the country’s total to 13.8 million hectares.

In related move, Indonesian Agriculture Minister Suswono on November 1 voiced hope that the country may not need to import rice this year as Bulog, the State procurement agency, has purchased an amount that can ensure the national food security from local farmers.

Indonesia is one of the world’s largest rice consumers with an average of 139 kilograms per capita per year, compared to 60 kg in Japan , 63 kg in Malaysia and 100 kg in China.

Despite being the world’s third largest rice producer, Indonesia has been among the biggest rice importers in recent years, with 1 million tonnes per year, due to narrowed growing areas and erratic weather.

The country mainly imports the grain from Thailand , Vietnam and India.

The Indonesian Government targets rice, corn and soybean self-sufficiency in 2014.VNA