JAKARTA: Indonesia’s Bulog will import 100,000 tonnes of corn this month, a director at the state food procurement agency said on Tuesday, in its first shipment of the maize in a decade. Southeast Asia’s largest economy, which imports corn mainly from Argentina and Brazil, temporarily stopped issuing corn import permits to feedmills last year, with the government making a broad push for food self-sufficiency and channelling imports through Bulog starting 2016.
The agency’s Procurement Director Wahyu told Reuters on Tuesday that 100,000 tonnes will be shipped in January, 200,000 tonnes in February and 300,000 tonnes in March. Bulog said last month that it would import 600,000 tonnes of corn in the first quarter of 2016. “Bulog imported corn many years ago,” he said. “This will be the first time in the last 10 years.” The agency will spend 1.8 trillion rupiah ($130 million) on the corn imports, which will then be sold to feedmills at a price set by the government, Wahyu added.
Bulog is also the main rice buyer and distributor in Indonesia. The domestic procurement fell 500,000 tonnes short of the target last year at 2.7 million tonnes, he said, adding that the target for 2016 was 4 million tonnes.
This being so, Indonesia imported 848,000 tonnes of the staple grain since fourth quarter 2015 until mid-January 2016 with an additional 600,000 tonnes still due to be shipped from Thailand and Vietnam by March of this year, Wahyu added. In order to diversify supplies, Bulog has been in talks with rice sellers in Pakistan, India, Cambodia and Myanmar about potential deals if needed, Wahyu said.