Amidst growing supply shortage of soybeans, Indonesia’s state food procurement agency, Bulog has been assigned to stabilise the supply by distributing a maximum of 800,000 tonnes of subsidised soybean to local tofu and tempeh makers.
Rising global prices of commodities including soybeans have impacted prices of soy-based products like tempe and tofu which are considered staple foods by many Indonesian households. Tofu and tempe are considered an important source of protein, a good alternative to meat which many low income Indonesians are unable to afford to buy on a regular basis.
In recent months, tofu and tempe producers complained of higher production costs which force them to raise their selling prices which impact the end consumers who themselves are struggling to make ends meet.
As a result, Bulog was tasked with distributing 200,000 tonnes of soy each month for the next 4 months, starting with locally available stocks, whether from local farmers or soy that has been previously imported. According to Awaludin Iqbal, Corporate Secretary of Bulog, “At this initial stage we are procuring beans that are already in the country … There is still time, we will conduct an assessment regarding imports. That’s next.”
Meanwhile, demand from the subsidised soy during the first month did not however reach the allotted maximum 200,000 tonnes, and Bulog has not scheduled any tender for imports yet.
The Indonesian government has allocated Rp 1,000 (US$0.07) for each kg of soybean sold by Bulog in an effort to cool down prices.