"Yesterday, I have monitored the market operations and found that it (garlic) was being sold at Rp40 thousand per kilogram (kg). It should not surpass Rp38 thousand per kg. We will trace the importers, and we have agreed with the Trade Ministry to revoke their licenses," Sulaiman noted here, Monday.
The minister has made assurance that the supply of garlic will be adequate ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan, hence there should be no reason for importers and distributors to increase the price of the commodity.
"If the price of the imported commodities is increased, there must be foul play here. Our food task force will monitor this," he pointed out.
According to the minister, the task force has detained four suspects who hoarded chili in the capital Jakarta.
He reiterated that the government has taken serious measures to crack down on what he called a food mafia.
The minister has also called on traders to not increase the price of basic necessities ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Earlier last week, the Trade Ministry had said it will take stern measures against price speculators and hoarders of basic necessities, especially before the fasting month and those who make unfair profits.
Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita said the firm action is being taken in cooperation with the police and the Food Task Force.
Since the start of 2017, the price of garlic has increased, with the average national price of Rp50,680 per kg, up 31.5 percent as compared to Rp38,554 per kg in January.
The government has stated that until the end of May 2017, additional supply of garlic reaching 7,672 tons will be available especially in Jakarta, Surabaya, and several other big cities.
Currently, the price of garlic at the consumer level is expected to be no more than Rp38 thousand per kg.