Indonesia readies new food law in self-sustainability drive

 
 A worker mixes rice at the central rice market in Jakarta, Nov 20, 2012. Indonesia has drafted a food law to speed self-sufficiency efforts by creating a new "super body" that could lead to greater curbs on imports and exports of staples, hinder much-needed overseas investment and eventually push up prices. --PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia has drafted a food law to speed self-sufficiency efforts by creating a new "super body" that could lead to greater curbs on imports and exports of staples, hinder much-needed overseas investment and eventually push up prices.

As Indonesia struggles to meet rising demand from an increasingly affluent population of 240 million, it is now the world's top importer of sugar, Asia's largest buyer of wheat, and imports about 2 million tonnes of rice and corn each year.

A copy of the law seen by Reuters, which is due to be signed off by the president by the end of 2012, shows that it covers areas such as food safety and the stocks, trade, purchase, prices, distribution and consumption of unspecified staples.

"In the new law we stress food sovereignty and autonomy,"said Mr Achmad Suryana, head of the Food Security Agency at the country's agriculture ministry, adding that it gave priority to securing adequate food supplies from domestic sources.

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