31 August 1998
Food riots in Indonesia

Indonesia continues to suffer widespread unrest.

Mobs have attacked and burned rice mills, plantations and shops. A sizeable number of the rioters are women and children in search of rice, flour, cooking oil and other essentials.

The price of rice has almost doubled to 5,000 rupiahs (30p) a kilogram, only 300 rupiahs less than the daily minimum wage.

An agricultural expert, Thoby Mutis, told The Guardian that the crisis is unlikely to be resolved soon because “there are insufficient supplies, the distribution system is not functioning and so many officials stink of corruption.”

One Western financier also said the government would find it expensive to buy rice from overseas. “Everyone knows Indonesia is desperate and they are jacking the price up.”

  • The Guardian 31/08/98 page 10