Wednesday, April 23, 2008

High Rice Price Quiz

We know that:
a. The world rice prices hit the $1,000-a-tonne level for the first time
b. Indonesia’s rice production is estimated to be about 2m tonnes higher than consumption this year thanks to improving yields and an increase in the harvested area.

What can you infer?
Yes, sell the surplus and reap the windfall profit. I heard you said you always want to help rice farmers.

But the rice consumers might suffer, so, you said, we restrict export to tame the inflation. Why didn't you tell me the same story when domestic rice price is high and we wanted to import, but you said no? Let us be consistent, if the poor --and only the poor-- could not afford rice, provide them with the direct money subsidy. Let the middle and high incomes pay the market rate.

You know what, you can not talk about agriculture revitalization --itself a long term plan--, while at the same time propose rice export restriction. After all, you want to sell the agriculture output as many as possible at the price as high as possible, no?