I am confused.
Some months ago, when the domestic rice price was high --due to shortage--, and the international price low, we didn't want to import because, some said, it would hurt the rice farmers, eventhough when majority net consumers would love to have lower imported rice price.
Now, when the domestic price is low --due to harvest season--, and the international price high, we don't want to export because, some says, it would be good to have large domestic reserve to protect the rice consumers, eventhough at the cost of, well, the rice farmers who may gain for that high international price.
So which one is which --defending the rice farmers or consumers? I am scratching my head.
Meanwhile, if BPS said that in January 2008, in 11 regions the farmer's term of trade increases while the other 11 otherwise, but nationally it goes up by 0.04 percent, can we say that the farmer's purchasing power decline, as that headline's subtitle suggest? Note, too, it was on January when the harvest didn't come yet.
On why the rice price persists high despite harvest time, it's the demand-supply mechanism. The article itself says that the demand increases significantly in Batam, Bangka, Pontianak, and Pekanbaru. Can you guess why? Yes, because international price and demand is high, exporting rice is profitable, and in those area, it is likely easier to sell the rice out. The law of one price, the economist friend would tell you.
If you really want to help rice farmers, what you should do is not to pile up national reserves, but get them more access to international market to outdo the middlemen that you keep blaming on the disparity between consumer and producer rice price. Or in other words, make the rice middlemen services market competitive and let the rice farmers enjoy the high international rice --if you really want to defend them, of course.
Make up your mind, sire