Wed, 23 Feb 2011

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The chairman of the National Soy Council, Benny A. Kusbini, said that the industry sector, especially the small and medium industries, are worried of the food scarcity threat this year. In addition to concerns about its effect on production, it could possibly stop their operation for lack of their raw material. This could also lead to unemployment.

According to Benny, this happens because of the high dependence on imported soy. Indonesia’s need for soy beans is 2.4 million tons on average, but only 800.000 can be provided domestically. The rest must be imported, most of it from US and Brazil. In the last few weeks, soy prices kept rising and reached its highest level in January. In the meantime, soy stock has been reduced because of weather factors.

Meanwhile, Franiscus Welirang, chairman of the Indonesian Wheat Flour Producer (Aptindo) said that producers are not too worried about this tendency. Even though the production is less than the demand, global wheat supply is still higher than two years ago. “We do not need to worry, the current scarcity tends to be more speculation,” he said.

Domestic wheat stock, he said, was also secure, at least for the next three months. Usually, wheat flour supply was ensured by stocks or a purchase contract for three months.

However, even though there is sufficient supply, the price will tend to increase. The National Statistics Bureau (BPS) recorded that imports were stable until September last year. There was a rise in October 2010, when Russia announced that it had a failed harvest and limited wheat to export. The situation is predicted to lead to an increase in the price of wheat this year.