Prior to the month of Ramadan, the prices of staple food in some regions in Indonesia have skyrocketed. For the majority of the Muslim population of Indonesia, the month of Ramadan is the holy month when they are obliged to fast every day for one month. After Ramadan, there is Idul Fitri or Lebaran Day which is the biggest feast in Indonesia. The problem is that during the month of Ramadan, food consumption tends to increase. Most of Indonesian people, especially Muslims think that during Ramadan they need to improve nutrition and quality of food to balance the obligations of fasting. On Idul Fitri day like great days in other countries, people usually provide the best dishes for families and friends. So, the increase in food prices is not a new thing for Indonesian people. This is like a "tradition". Despite the availability of stock and smooth distribution of food such rice or meat, the prices are already "automatically" rising, as if the prices of basic necessities both prior to Ramadan, during Ramadan and post-Idul Fitri should rise.
Director General of Animal Husbandry and Animal Health at the Ministry of Agriculture, I Ketut Diarmita said that chicken meat is sufficient before the fasting month and Idul Fitri 2018 and even, the chicken eggs are surplus. Meanwhile, Director General of Horticulture of the Ministry of Agriculture Suwandi said that the supply of chili from the harvest in South Sumatera, Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, and other regions could become sources ahead of Ramadan.
Based on these calculations, Diarmita pointed out that there should be no price increase because there is sufficient stock. But the reality is quite different. The government's claim on the availability of basic commodities does not seem to undermine traders' intentions, especially retailers in traditional markets to raise the prices.
The price of one chicken in Kramat Jati Market, Jakarta slowly has moved up since last week and is expected to continue to increase until Idul Fitri. In Pasar Baru of Polewali Mandar, West Sulawesi, the basic commodity prices have even gone up over the last two weeks. The prices of some commodities in Inpres and Lhokseumawe markets also increase.
Generally, the cause of the price increase is that there is an increasing demand. However, sometimes the reasons for Indonesian traders to raise prices seem absurd. For example, prior to Lebaran Day, government employees and companies and workers usually receive a holiday allowance or bonus. So, this is considered fair if the traders take advantage of additional benefits as well.
The government needs to conduct market operations to ensure sufficient stock and the prices cannot be manipulated by the merchants, let alone make it as tradition.