Indonesia will pause corn imports as domestic output has started to rise with the beginning of what authorities expect to be a bumper local harvest season which is already helping prices to stabilise, officials said on Monday.

The output of corn kernels with 14% water content is set to be 5.34 million metric tons in the January-April harvest season, up 10.28% on year, the statistics bureau estimated this month.

Food procurement firm Bulog had been allocated an import quota of 500,000 metric tons of corn for animal feed this year, on top of the 500,000 tons allotted in the last three months of 2023 - some of which is set to arrive this year.

But as of this month, domestic corn supply has been increasing and authorities want to prioritise purchases from local farmers, National Food Agency (NFA) deputy chief Andriko Noto Susanto told a government meeting broadcast online.

The impact on Bulog was unclear. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

The increased domestic output helped pull the average price of corn for animal feed down 3.6% on Monday versus last week's average, though the average price is still above a government benchmark, NFA data showed.

The Ministry of Trade has agreed to suspend imports because harvesting has started, Bambang Wisnubroto, a director at the ministry, said at the meeting.

"Domestic procurement will be prioritised for corn as long as the quality meets the specifications needed by the animal feed industry," he said.

Officials did not disclose the duration of the import halt. (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe and Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Christopher Cushing)