JAKARTA, INDONESIA — Indonesia’s rice imports in 2017-18 are expected to rise to 1.3 million tonnes as the country attempts to stabilize prices and rebuild stocks, according to an April 3 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Indonesian Bureau of Logistics (BULOG) has set its domestic procurement target for 2017-18 at 2.7 million tonnes of milled rice equivalent but only 650,000 tonnes had been procured through March.

Faced with rising prices prior to the main harvest and BULOG’s insufficient stocks, on Jan. 11 the Minister of Trade instructed BULOG to import 500,000 tonnes of rice.

As of the end of March, only 261,000 tonnes had arrived, and the government extended the period BULOG can import rice through June 2018, the report said.

The USDA noted that per capita rice consumption in Indonesia is declining about 1.6% per year. The decline in rice consumption is partly offset by increasing consumption of wheat flour-based foods.

“Relatively stable macro-economic conditions have allowed middle and upper-middle income consumers to diversify their diets to include more Western-style foods like bread and pasta,” the report said. “Rather than eating rice three daily meals, many Indonesians have switched to eating bread or noodles for breakfast. Consumers usually have a pack of instant noodles during one meal, which is equal to about 110 grams of rice.”