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    Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said that Indonesia should not import potatoes because the commodity could be produced at home, Antara news agency reported.

    "I do not quite agree if commodities that could be produced at home must be imported. There is no reason to import potatoes,"the trade minister said during a hearing with House of Representatives (DPR)`s Commission VI trade, here on Monday.

    He said that Indonesia`s potato imports were small, namely accounting for 0.2 percent of the total national production.

    Potatoes which are imported from China and Bangladesh are now flooding the Indonesia market with a price of about Rp2000 per kg, for cheaper than the local price of Rp500-Rp6000 per kg.

    Chairman of the Indonesian National Farmers Association for strategic research Achmad Yacob has urged the trade ministry to stop the imports of potatoes because it dealt a great blow to the local farmers.

    Gita said that he would not keep silent over this matter and promised to discuss it with the relevant ministries such as the ministry of agriculture which obviously issued a license for the importation of potatoes.

    Previously, Agriculture Minister Suswono said Indonesia`s potato production was recorded at one million tons per annum, so that if Indonesia imported some 50,000 of the commodity it would not disturb the market price.

    Gita said that he was also ready to discuss the matter with the finance ministry. "We will also question whether there is a special request from Mc Donald and Kentucky fast food restaurants,"he added.

    He said that basically, the trade ministry was basically of the view that there was no need to import potatoes.
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