, Jakarta - The Minister of Trade (Mendag), Enggartiasto Lukita has set the highest Retail Price (HET) for rice commodities as of September 1, 2017. The maximum price is set from Rp 9,450 per kilogram (kg) to Rp 13,600 per kg depending on type rice and area.

Agricultural Observer from the Institute for Development Economics and Finance (INDEF), Bustanul Arifin said, HET is a rule to control the price that can be useful if there is an instrument or institution that oversees it. He fears it can be a negative incentive for farmers with this HET determination.

"Currently farmers are not too noisy because the price is higher than the Cost of Goods Purchase (HPP), HPP is now Rp 3,700 per kg, but in the field Rp 4,200 to Rp 5,000 per kg.So if HET set, I am afraid to be a negative incentive for farmers , "he said in Jakarta, Saturday (9/9/2017).

Bustanul negative incentives, traders will certainly press the price down or lower so that farmers can no longer enjoy the purchase price of Rp 4,200 or Rp 5,000 per kg.

"But the government is running the No. 57 of 2017 on HET Determination there is a transition period, not full.Because learning from the mistake Permendag 47/2017 that make noisy, it has not been applied," he explained.

Member of the House of Representatives Commission IV of the Golkar faction, Ichsan Firdaus added that the HET determination policy must be accompanied by adequate rice production and stock. Unfortunately, seeing the ability of Bulog to absorb rice farmers actually decreased in the first half of 2017.

"The ability of Bulog to absorb rice from my farmers is somewhat worried.In the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year, the absorption of Bulog fell to 500-600 thousand tons of rice alone, because constrained because the rules must buy at a set price," he explained.

"I observe in the field, the price of dry grain harvest above Rp 5,000 per kg, but the HPP Rp 3,700-Rp 3,800 per kg, so Bulog competes at the bottom level is also heavy," he added.

Worse yet, said Ichsan, technology owned by Bulog is still inferior to the rice boss. "If the absorption of Bulog is rather minimal, but the government is implementing HET, it could be the price above the HET, because the government has set the price of meat Rp 80 thousand, in the field still Rp 120 thousand per kg," he explained.

Ichsan hopes that whatever government policy includes implementing HET in order to stabilize rice prices, but must keep in mind that farmers are still interested in growing rice, making a profit, with improvements in production data.

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