Due to the impact of El Nino, a weather phenomenon that involves periodical warm ocean water temperatures off the western coast of South America that can cause climatic changes across the Pacific Ocean, rice production in Indonesia may decline. The El Nino weather phenomenon, which occurs once every five years on average, can lead to severe droughts in key agricultural-producing countries in Southeast Asia, hence impacting on the global commodities market. In Indonesia, the dry season usually lasts from May to August. However, due to El Nino, it took until October-November to see some rain in parts of Southeast Asia's largest economy.

Amran Sulaiman, Indonesian Minister of Agriculture, said these rice imports from Vietnam are merely to safeguard the country's rice reserves and possibly will not need to be sold on the market. Currently, Bulog (National Logistics Agency), the agency that holds a monopoly on rice imports, monitors the distribution process and safeguards rice price stability in the country, still has rice reserves of around 1.4 million tons. The agency also said local rice farmers have begun to plant rice this month, meaning that the harvest season can start in February.