Droughts in Indonesia spur rice shortage concerns

Heat brought by an El Nino weather pattern has been causing severe droughts across Indonesia. Government officials there are becoming increasingly concerned about shortages of rice, the country's key staple food.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited a rice storage facility near the capital Jakarta on Monday. Joko indicated that the nation has a lot of rice in stock. He said that people do not need to worry too much.

The president also declared that the government has begun distributing free rice to more than 21 million low-income households.

Indonesia is known as one of the world's leading rice producing countries. But it has been battling rain shortages and droughts this year. Authorities believe there will be a drop in the amount of rice that is produced.

The government has decided to import the key staple food from other countries. It has already started holding discussions about imports with Cambodia, China and India.