In the News: Indonesia battles rice shortfall

“Reports from farmers seem to back up that view. Muhammad Nuruddin, the head of the 147,000-member Alliance of Farmers, said dozens of large-scale farms on the main Indonesian island of Java reported declines in their most recent harvest of at least 20 per cent, while average per hectare yields halved to 2 tonnes.

With extreme weather expected to continue, 2011 production will be flat at best, and more likely fall 10-15 per cent, said Mr Nuruddin, which would force Indonesia to import more rice.”

Indonesia’s authorities are being forced to import large quantities of rice as the country’s own production has been hit by heavy rain, heightening fears of more price inflation.

Paddy fields across the country have suffered almost a year of excessive flooding, while disease and pests have damaged the rice crop. Domestic rice prices rose 30 per cent in 2010 and in many major production centres, farmers reported yield declines of up to 50 per cent in late December.

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