The Indonesian trade ministry has issued permits to import 135,000 tonnes of garlic to offset a severe domestic shortage, which has resulted in acute price rises.
The agriculture ministry, which is responsible for authorising imports, has set a quota of 320,000 tonnes for garlic imports in 2013.
"Import permits for around 90 percent of a total of 160,000 tonnes of import quota for the first half have been issued and importers seem to have verified their orders," said Bachrul Chairi, the trade ministry’s director general for foreign trade.
Shipments of the garlic are scheduled to take place within two weeks.
The trade ministry also authorised the release of 332 containers of garlic being stored at Tanjung Perak Port in Surabaya. Garlic from the containers are planned to be gradually released to the market to help push down its price.
Hundreds of containers filled with horticulture products are not being released from the port due to licensing problems. Those without complete documents are generally returned to exporting countries.
Indonesia’s increase in prices of staple goods including garlic, shallots and red chilli have caused a rise of 0.75 per cent in the Consumers Price Index (CPI) for the month of February, pushing consecutive years of inflation to a 20-month high of 5.3 per cent.