JAKARTA: Indonesian food procurement firm Bulog is to import an additional 500,000 metric tons of corn for animal feed, a National Food Agency (NFA) official told a weekly meeting on Monday.

The planned import comes on top of a 500,000 ton import quota allotted in the last quarter of 2023, some of which is expected to arrive this year, as the government seeks to cool rising feed prices for breeders.

Late last year, Bulog said it has imported 171,000 tons of the previous assigned corn quota.

“It has been decided to import 500,000 tons more corn for feed millers. Bulog is assigned to import the 500,000 tons,” NFA deputy I Gusti Ketut Astawa told the live-streamed meeting, adding the extra supply could help reduce prices.

Average corn prices for chicken farmers stood at 8,700 rupiah ($0.5568) per kilogram on Monday, up about 47% from a year ago and 70% above government reference prices, the NFA’s price monitoring website showed, which is likely to raise egg and chicken prices. The price surge was prompted a 12.5% output drop last year to 14.46 million tons as El Nino fuelled a prolonged drought that has affected Indonesia since mid-2023.

The planned imports this year are the highest since 2021 when Southeast Asia’s biggest economy imported nearly 996,000 tons of corn. The Indonesian Feedmills Association said the industry have proposed a 500,000 ton wheat import quota this year to plug demand buoyed as industry players have not been allowed to import corn directly since 2015.

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