INDONESIA – The Indonesian government is set to pause the country’s corn imports as it experiences a surge in domestic output with the onset of what officials anticipate to be a prolific local harvest season. 

This move is already instrumental in stabilizing corn prices, providing a boon for local farmers and the agricultural sector.

The Indonesian Statistics Bureau estimates that the output of corn kernels with 14% water content will reach 5.34 million metric tons during the January-April harvest season, marking a significant 10.28% increase compared to the previous year. 

This surge in production underscores Indonesia’s growing self-reliance in meeting its corn demand.

In light of this surge in domestic output, the National Food Agency (NFA) has announced a halt to corn imports, signaling a shift towards prioritizing purchases from local farmers. 

On October 11, 2023, the National Food Agency (NFA) authorized the government-owned National Logistics Agency (BULOG) to import a total of 500,000 metric tons of feed corn to soften the impact of higher commodity prices and ensure adequate supplies for smallholder poultry farmers.

While the impact on BULOG remains uncertain, the increase in domestic supply has already led to a 3.6% decrease in the average price of corn for animal feed compared to the previous week. 

Despite this decline, the average price remains above the government benchmark, indicating ongoing efforts to ensure fair pricing for both farmers and consumers.

Bambang Wisnubroto, a director at the Ministry of Trade, confirmed the decision to suspend imports, citing the commencement of the harvesting season. 

Domestic procurement will be prioritized for corn as long as the quality meets the specifications needed by the animal feed industry,” Wisnubroto stated, emphasizing the government’s commitment to supporting local agricultural producers.

While officials have not disclosed the duration of the import halt, the move underscores Indonesia’s commitment to bolstering its agricultural self-sufficiency and promoting the welfare of local farmers. 

In a related report by Reuters, Indonesian grain buyers are boosting imports of lower-quality wheat as a decline in corn output last year following a severe drought linked to an El Nino weather pattern tightened the country’s animal feed supplies.

Thus, wheat exports into Indonesia, the world’s third-biggest buyer of grain, are likely to climb at least 10 percent in 2024 from around 10.87 million tonnes last year, according to Singapore-based grain traders.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.