Neilson, Jeff and Arifin, Bustanul (2012) Food Security and the De-Agrarianisation of the Indonesian Economy. In: Food Security and the De-Agrarianisation of the Indonesian Economy. Earthscan, London, pp. 147-164.


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the preceding discussion has emphasized the relatively high financial and social cost of pursuing food self-sufficiency goals at the national scale, particularly in a country experiencing a strong agrarian transition towards high-value horticulture and off-farm incomes. it has stressed the importance of addressing food insecu- rity as a phenomenon that ultimately affects households rather than nations. it also explains recent food policy trajectories in indonesia as the product of past collective national experiences of food crises, deeply-ingrained cultural values and the rising political influence of farmers’ organizations. ultimately, however, the costs of maintaining this policy approach need to be balanced against the insurance it provides to withstand external perturbations in the world food system. the future uncertainties that surround global food supply under changing climatic conditions, combined with the malthusian challenges of feeding a global population set to pass seven billion in 2011, indicate a higher level of risk than ever before. under this scenario, the critical challenge becomes how to incor- porate risk and build resilience in localized and national food security models. indonesia’s ability to withstand the 2008 global financial and food crises is a case- in-point. in indonesia, increased agricultural production, successful price stabili- zation at the consumer level, and trade controls thwarted the upward pressure on prices that might otherwise have been expected due to instability of rice supply in the world market. despite prices doubling in international markets, domestic prices increased by only ten per cent. indonesia achieved international recogni- tion due to these relatively stable prices, with its national rice stocks remaining affordable. Certainly, indonesia was able to avoid the food riots that occurred in other parts of asia, africa and latin america. in this situation, it was possible for the government to maintain sufficient buffer stocks of rice due to good levels of domestic production, thereby preventing further speculation or hoarding. to achieve this, the indonesian government took a number of measures to limit the domestic impacts of the 2008 food crisis (taken from Fao, 2009). these included: removing import duties on wheat and soybean imports; providing soybean subsidies to producers of tofu and tempe; relaxing the Vat (value-added tax) for wheat flour and cooking oil; and increasing the fertilizer subsidy by 240 per cent. in terms of food accessibility, the government increased rice subsi- dies through raSkiN both in terms of programme coverage and the size of the subsidy, and introduced direct cash subsidies for the poor. this mix of policies and financial incentives provided household-level benefits, but overall indonesia’s relatively strong food security in 2008 was built on the level of price control made possible through solid domestic production. the global food crisis of 2008 has been interpreted by many as an early warning sign of global economic conditions in the years ahead as indonesia, and other countries, are expected to grapple with the vagaries of climate change and its impacts on food production. in this context, having national control over the life source of the nation holds both emotive and practical appeal. the collective national memory of indonesia’s inability to buy food on the world market in the 1960s (and hence the perceived need to be self-sufficient) is juxtaposed over the experiences of localized food shortages and famine (such as those in yahukimo) caused by entrapment in a subsistence economy and isolation from broader trade and social networks. these two typified experiences, and the complexities of addressing food insecurity as multi-scalar phenomena, are driving what may seem to be contradictory policies at national and regional levels. Singularly prescrip- tive policy approaches such as ‘self-sufficiency at all costs’ or ‘full liberalization of agricultural markets’ are unlikely to solve the food security conundrum in indonesia. Food security is most likely to be achieved through broad-based rural development, where individual households are supported to improve their access to resources and factors of production through an entitlements approach.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Fakultas Pertanian (FP) > Prodi Agribisnis
Depositing User: BUSTANUL A
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2018 07:31
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2018 07:31

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