Since mid-1997, Indonesia has experienced a succession of economic shocks which have resulted in a sharp depreciation in the value of the Rupiah against major currencies, rapid inflation and a dramatic increase in the number of people unemployed. The consequences of economic contraction together with appreciably lower food production forecast this year will have a major impact on the countrys food security in the short to medium term. In addition to their magnitude, the sudden and rapid pace at which events have evolved has meant that there have been limited opportunities for adequate coping mechanisms to develop, at both the national and household levels, to deal with serious food supply difficulties. The number of people who now fall below the poverty line has risen sharply and concerns are mounting that over the next year, a large section of Indonesias population will be vulnerable to food insecurity.
In March/April this year, a UNDP sponsored FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission made a preliminary evaluation of 1998 crop production and the overall food supply situation for the 1998/99 marketing year. It anticipated that domestic rice production from the main wet season harvest would fall appreciably, commercial import capacity would be affected by worsening terms of trade, whist growing unemployment and rising food prices would affect the purchasing power and access to food of a large section of the population. As domestic production and supply for the remainder of 1998/99 marketing year hinged heavily on further weather developments, input availability and the flow of imports, a recommendation was made that the situation be reviewed during this years second season harvest. Accordingly, a UNDP-supported FAO/WFP follow-up assessment Mission visited Indonesia from 7-25 September 1998.
The Mission comprised seven members including four national agronomists,
who visited 18 of the countrys 27 provinces. The area surveyed would
normally account for 95 percent of national rice production. Information
on provinces not visited by the team was collected from official sources.
In addition to field
inspection the Mission held discussions with various agencies. These included the central, provincial and district authorities, research institutions, UN agencies, bilateral and multilateral donors and NGOs. Interviews were also held with farmers, traders, millers and consumers in urban and rural areas.
The Mission found that a combination of serious farm level constraints and agronomic problems during the second season will result in a more significant decline in food production this year, than estimated by the earlier assessment. Although rainfall during June to August was above normal and generally beneficial for crops in rainfed areas, higher humidity and cloud cover significantly increased the incidence of pest attacks, particularly of the brown plant hopper. Moreover, as devaluation has increased the cost of imported pesticides severalfold, very few farmers effectively applied necessary (chemical) pest control. Although the cost of urea and phosphate fertilisers to farmers was cushioned by Government subsidies, only small quantities of potassium chloride (KCl) were used. Lower use of KCl in particular not only reduced the physiological ability of plants to resist pest attacks, but also affected grain formation. In addition, delayed planting due to the late harvest of the preceding wet season crop had a negative impact on productivity in many areas.
Due to these factors, therefore, second season paddy yields are projected to decline significantly. The Mission forecasts the aggregate 1998 paddy production at 45.38 million tonnes, around 4 million tonnes or 8 percent below last years reduced harvest and 2.7 percent lower than the 1994 drought-affected crop. The 1998 forecast paddy output will be the lowest since 1991. Based on the current production forecast, the rice import requirement is estimated at around 5.14 million tonnes for the entire 1998/99 marketing year. As of mid-September BULOG had already imported 2.42 million tonnes of rice and had contracted an additional 525 000 tonnes. Confirmed rice pledges/deliveries amount to a further 765 000 tonnes (including 500 000 tonnes as soft loan and 100 000 tonnes as grain from Japan); of this, 240 000 tonnes are in the form of project food aid and 525 000 tonnes as programme food assistance. This leaves a deficit of about 1.43 million tonnes of rice to be covered by commercial/concessional imports, loans, grants and targeted food aid. The Mission understands that of this, bilateral discussions are underway for a approximately a further 1 million tonnes. Recently, although the Government allowed private sector imports of high quality rice for a period of five months, the volume of such imports is likely to be limited due to difficulties in organising trade credit and general economic instability. In addition to rice, the last Mission estimated an import requirement of around 4 million tonnes of wheat, of which an estimated 1.5 million tonnes has already been delivered. However, the demand for wheat may be affected by a number of factors including the removal of subsidies and a change in relative prices, which may in turn have a bearing on import requirement.
Due to economic shocks and general uncertainty, in addition to "normal" demand and supply considerations, the price of rice this year is heavily influenced by speculation and insecurity in the rice market, which have created excess demand for stocks over normal short term consumption needs. As further reduction in domestic production estimated by the Mission could put additional pressure on prices, it is extremely important that imports and institutional stocks with BULOG are used as effectively as possible, through appropriate intervention to allay fears and reduce further speculative pressures. Further, as part of the problem is the failure of market operations to work normally, (i.e. traders are becoming apprehensive of procuring and stocking rice due to fears of looting or confiscation), it is important that effective measures are taken to restore market confidence.
In view of the mounting food security concerns and the uncertainty over weather conditions due to a possible La Niña effect, the Government introduced in May a number of precautionary steps to stimulate domestic rice production. These include, rice purchases by BULOG at market prices, the provision of US$40 million in credit, continuation of subsidies on fertilisers and an intensification programme to increase production partly through area expansion and partly through increasing cropping intensity. However, in most areas these measures came too late for dry season production and, therefore, will have most impact during the next wet (main) season commencing in October/November. The Government also plans to assist some 17 million families (85 million people) by providing subsidised rice (10 kg/family per month) at approximately one-third of current market prices.
In addition to short term food intervention for the most vulnerable sectors of society, Indonesia needs large scale international assistance to stimulate agricultural production to ensure greater food security, less volatility in the domestic food market and generate employment. Any strategy, inter alia, will require adequate provision of quality seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and appropriate pest control measures.
The economic crisis in Indonesia will have far reaching implications on food security as prospects for recovery in the short term are, at best, far from encouraging. Indeed, in sharp contrast to 1997, when favourable economic growth was projected, this year the country is forecast to have amongst the highest rates of economic contraction in the world. Moreover, the price of imports continues to soar due to dramatic falls in exchange rates, which in turn have fuelled rapid inflation. (Charts 1 & 2). Apart from the depth of recession, the speed at which the economy has declined has undermined coping strategies that may have evolved, nationally and at the household level.
Source: Central Bureau of Statistics, Jakarta.
The recession, especially in the service, manufacturing and construction sectors, and lower domestic demand, has already resulted in a dramatic increase in unemployment. Estimates from the Ministry of Manpower put the number of unemployed at 15.4 million or 17 percent of the workforce in July 1998. A recent UNDP/ILO study [ Employment Challenges of the Indonesian Economic Crisis: UNDP/ILO June 1998.] , estimates that some 5.4 million workers will be displaced by the economic crisis in 1998 including some 30 percent in services, 25 percent in manufacturing and 19 percent in construction. The number of unemployed, therefore, is expected to rise to over 20 million or 22 percent of the workforce by the end of the year. Although some of these may be absorbed by the informal sector, any incomes and remuneration as means to food security would inevitably be far less assured. The ensuing problems are thought to be most acute amongst urban workers, where the loss in employment has resulted in a dramatic decrease in purchasing power. Many unemployed urban workers are moving to rural areas, thus exerting further pressure on the limited services in these areas. In view of food security concerns for the urban segment of the population, the Government has requested FAO to evaluate the possibility of expanding agriculture in peri-urban areas to supplement consumption of urban households.
In addition to open unemployment, rapid inflation is fast eroding the real value of incomes even of those lucky enough to be in work. The UNDP/ILO study estimates that the combination of stagnant wages and incomes and high inflation will result in around 100 million people (48 percent of the population), falling below the poverty line (<US$0.5/day) by the end of 1998. This would represent a three to four fold increase in the extent of poverty whilst any further price rises next year could increase the numbers of poor dramatically. To cushion the negative impact of food shortages, the Government introduced a special programme recently, to provide 10 kg of rice/family at a subsidised rate of RP 1000/kg, for up to 17 million of the poorest families (or 85 million people).
The high and growing number of poor people in Indonesia and the prospects of the country entering next year with a substantial proportion of the population below the poverty line means that urgent action and interventions need to be taken both to reduce poverty and to restructure and stimulate the economy, especially agriculture and food production. As part of this process, in June this year the latest Memorandum on Economic and Financial Policies was agreed by the Government and IMF. This includes measures to shore up purchasing power, control inflation, restore the banking system and strengthen institutions involved in managing the crisis. These reforms are seen as essential in stimulating agriculture and manufacturing and generating employment.
Food production in Indonesia is heavily influenced by the pattern of monsoon rains which have an important bearing on performance during the main (wet) and secondary (dry) seasons. The wet season normally extends from October to March and produces some 60 percent of the countrys annual rice crop and half of its maize, soybean and groundnuts. The dry season covers April to September during which most of the remaining annual crop is produced. In western Indonesia, which produces 80-90 percent of the countrys rice and maize, however, rainfall occurs throughout the year mostly during the period October to March. In Eastern parts, especially in Nusa Tenggara and Timor rainfall becomes progressively lower.
With the exception of 1995-96, weather conditions during the 1990s have been largely unfavourable for crop production, which has increased risks in smallholder agriculture, especially for single-crop farmers in eastern parts of the country. The 1997/98 main season production was additionally affected by El Niño-induced drought, which seriously delayed planting and affected crop production as confirmed by the earlier Mission in March.
In addition to reduction in the main season rice crop, the 1998 second season production will be reduced further by a number of factors including:
As a result of these factors, the estimates of dry season production has been revised down, largely due to drop in yields as overall area decline has been small and less than one percent. The Mission, therefore, forecasts aggregate 1997/1998 paddy production at about 45.3 million tonnes some 5 percent lower than projected earlier, around four million tonnes or 8 percent below 1997 and 2.7 percent lower than the last drought affected crop in 1994. (Table 1 & 2).
|1997 1/||19962/||1994 3/||Percent change 1998 over 1997||Percent change 1998 over 1996||percent change 1998 over 1994|
|Paddy||45 383||49 377||50 575||46 642||-8.1||-10.3||-2.7|
|Maize||9 627||8 771||9 142||6 869||9.7||5.3||40.1|
|Soybean||1 467||1 357||1 510||1 565||8.1||-2.8||-6.3|
|Cassava 4/||16 391||15 134||16 910||15 729||8.3||-3.0||4.2|
|Sweet Potatoes4/||1 937||1 848||2 029||1 845||4.8||-4.5||5.0|
1/ Below-normal paddy production year
2/ Normal paddy production year.
3/ Drought affected paddy production.
4/ Fresh root weight.
Note:Percentages computed from unrounded data.
|SUMATRA||10 890||2 183||261||3 019||399||110|
|Banda Aceh||1 514||51||107||9||9||21|
|North Sumatra||3 256||552||51||584||126||41|
|West Sumatra||1 710||46||7||69||25||12|
|South Sumatra||1 514||89||19||324||37||11|
|Lampung||1 606||1 325||45||1 755||35||9|
|JAVA||24 293||5 348||892||10 524||926||442|
|West Java||8 565||387||82||1 881||408||105|
|Central Java||7 420||1 713||275||3 947||290||144|
|East Java||7 681||3 090||464||3 884||219||154|
|BALI, E. TIMOR & N TENGGARA||2 484||761||168||1 269||215||58|
|West Nusa Tenggara||1 338||84||133||102||13||25|
|East Nusa Tenggara||248||469||5||916||92||11|
|South Kalimantan||1 175||35||16||155||21||23|
|SULAWESI||5 079||1 222||100||923||130||79|
|South Sulawesi||3 984||981||82||602||68||64|
|South East Sulawesi||214||73||4||187||13||2|
|MALUKU & IRIAN||184||17||14||114||190||7|
|Total||45 383||9 627||1 467||16 3911/||1 9371/||726|
1/ Fresh root weight.
Although any projections for main 1999 wet season rice production, to be planted from October 1998 onwards, are highly tentative at this stage, three factors namely (i) a Government programme to stimulate domestic production; (ii) favourable rainfall projections and (iii) cheaper labour force, should assist any recovery in output.
In May this year the Government introduced "Gema Palagung 2001" to increase rice production through:
A credit line of 400 billion Rupiah (US $ 40 million) on soft loan terms for farm inputs. As a result, credit coverage is estimated to increase from 3 percent to 25 percent of area planted.
Continuation of fertiliser subsidies.
A target area of 2.3 million hectares for enhanced production, through intensive extension, credit and subsidy to increase cropping intensity (CI) and yields. Specifically to increase the CI on 376 000 hectares from 100 to 200 percent and from 200 to 300 percent on 124 000 hectares.
Very early forecasts from the Department of Meteorology indicate that rainfall in Java will be above normal in 77 percent and normal in 23 percent of districts during the period from October to December 1998. Normal to above normal rainfall is also predicted for Sulawesi, Sumatra and Kalimantan. Massive unemployment in the country would also provide a cheap labour force for farming during the coming season. However, potentially favourable impact of weather and other factors on yields could be off-set by increased losses due to pests, in the absence of effective control measures, as well as shortages of KCl fertilizer, as experienced in the dry season.
To date, the rapid rise in domestic food prices in Indonesia, especially for rice (Chart 5) , is attributed to a combination of the following:
The rice market in Indonesia is now highly speculative and uncertain. Consumers are storing more food supplies, whilst many producers are retaining stocks in addition to normal requirements due to distribution constraints or in anticipation of future price increases or to cover large increases in future production costs, especially of imported inputs.
Note: September first two weeks.
Although the pressure on rice prices would have been higher in the absence of market intervention by the National Logistics Agency (BULOG), it is not clear why the level of intervention was not appreciably higher to curb rapidly rising prices during the lean period in July and August 1998, given the reasonable stock level and anticipated imports. Market intervention during these months was 215 000 tonnes and 193 000 tonnes respectively compared to 414 000 tonnes and 483 000 tonnes in the lean months of January and February earlier in the year when stocks were lower and the import position less clear. (Charts 6 & 7).
The reasons put forward for lower intervention include (i) the perception that August is traditionally the harvest month for some dry season crops during which prices and the need for support intervention are lower and (ii) there is need to retain large stocks for an anticipated surge in demand in November/ December for key events including Eid, Christmas and new year.
Note: For all years except 1998/99 available data is on a calendar year basis.
The revised cereal supply/demand balance including aggregate import requirements for 1998/99 (April/March) is summarised in Table 3. Although the balance provides an overall perspective of national needs, it should be noted that issues related to purchasing power, food access and regional differences in consumption cannot be reflected in such a derivation. The cereal balance is based on the following assumptions, related mainly to rice, the staple food:
|32 245||9 927||369|
|28 682||9 627||0|
|37 390||9 927||4 385|
|Consumption||28 787||5 286||3 863|
|4 303||3 813||153|
|5 145||0||4 016|
1/ Reflect reduced maize demand by the poultry feed industry
The rice import requirement for 1998/99 has been revised up by the Mission
to around 5.14 million tonnes, which is around 1.64 million tonnes or 47
percent higher than the earlier forecast of 3.5 million tonnes in April.
Against this as of mid-September BULOG had already imported 2.42 million
tonnes of rice and has contracted an additional 525 000 tonnes. Confirmed
food assistance pledges/receipts amount to 765 000 tonnes of rice (including
600 000 tonnes from Japan in soft loans and grants); of this, 240 000 tonnes
are in the form of project food aid and 525 000 tonnes as programme food
assistance. This leaves a deficit of about 1.43 million tonnes of rice to
be covered by commercial/concessional imports, loans, grants and targeted
food aid. The Mission understands that of this, bilateral discussions are
underway for approximately a further 1 million tonnes. In addition to rice,
there is an import requirement of around 4 million tonnes of wheat. However,
the demand for wheat may be affected by a number of factors including the
removal of subsidies and a change in relative prices, which may in turn have
a bearing on the import requirement for wheat, some 1.5 million tonnes of
which have been imported commercially so far and an additional half a million
tonnes is expected in further bilateral assistance by January 1999. There
is also some possibility that a further 1 million tonnes may be provided
in bilateral assistance over the next two years, though this is still under
So far no comprehensive assessment of the nutritional impact of food shortages is available. However, some early indications may be derived from on-going surveillance in South Sulawesi, South Kalimantan and Central Java under a UNICEF-supported programme implemented by the NGO Helen Keller International. Comparisons in nutritional status were made over the period from June 1996 to June 1998 and found
There are a variety of coping mechanisms adopted by the very poor and the
poor in order to survive in the current difficult situation. These include
shifting to lower cost foods (based on local products, rather than imported
ingredients, particularly in the rural areas), increasing activity in the
informal sector (including an increased small trader activity in the rice
market) and taking children out of school in order to avoid schooling expenses.
There is a multiplicity of local non-governmental organisations and community
groups (some based on the mosques and churches) who are providing assistance
to the most destitute, including some low-cost lunch programmes in urban
and peri-urban areas.
In response to the 1997/98 drought, the Executive Director of WFP and Director-General of FAO jointly approved an Emergency Operation (EMOP) in April this year. The EMOP covers a period of thirteen months, and is now targeting some 5 million beneficiaries, including pregnant/ lactating mothers, malnourished children and destitute and poor drought-affected families in rural areas, which are being incorporated into food for work activities. Due to the pattern of the drought, which affected mainly the eastern areas of the country, assistance is being targeted primarily to areas outside of Java and Sumatra, with only 20 percent of assistance targeted to the two most populous islands. First activities and rice distributions started in August. Over 86 000 tonnes of cereals have already been delivered and the remainder is expected to be delivered by January next year. (Table 4)
As many of the areas originally targeted by the WFP EMOP may now be suffering less from the drought than from the economic crisis, re-targeting of assistance should now be considered.
A WFP Programme Review Mission has recently arrived in Indonesia to examine the need and potential for additional food assistance in urban, peri-urban and rural areas .
|Project Food Assistance|
|CRS||39 500||Blended food||1 040|
|CARE||25 500||Maize||1 400|
|UNICEF||Blended food||8 500|
|USA bilateral||Dried milk powder||7 500|
|Sub-total (rice)||239 664|
|Programme Food Assistance|
|USA P.L. 480/Title 1||25 000||Wheat Soya beans||18 000 50 000|
|Japan (soft loan)||500 000|
|Sub-total (rice)||525 000|
|TOTAL RICE||764 664|
Irrespective of aggregate food supplies in the country, unemployed households and families with low purchasing power have major problems accessing food, especially in an overall market environment where prices are unstable and may rise due to uncertainty.
The government is using data from the National Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) as a basis for the subsidized rice sales programme (Special Market Operations of BULOG). The data for the poorest "pre-welfare" (KPS) and poor (KS1) families in May/June and July/August this year does not show any overall increase. There are some significant changes for individual provinces, however, no doubt reflecting a shift from those families affected by the drought to those affected by the economic crisis. For example, the number of KPS families in Irian Jaya dropped from 153 579 in May/June to 129 055 in July/August. The five provinces of Java account for some 4.99 million KPS families (68.6 percent of the total), whereas they have 58.6 percent of the national population. On the other hand, the seven provinces of Sumatra account for 979,639 KPS families (13.5 percent of the total), whereas they have some 21.1 percent of the population. There is some concern on the part of government, however, that the number of very poor (KPS) families may rise, as the poor slip into the category of the poorest, particularly in the urban and peri-urban areas.
The poorest "pre-welfare" (KPS) category can purchase 10 kilograms of rice per family each month at a subsidised price of Rupiahs 1,000 per kilogram, i.e. about a third of current market price. Nationally, the programme is intended to reach some 7.35 million families (the poorest) by October this year. Thereafter, it may be extended to a further 9.57 families in the "poor" (KS1) category for a total of approximately 17 million families or some 85 million people, assuming an average family of five persons. The programme could eventually cover over forty percent of the population. According to available data in July, August and September, the programme assisted some 137 000, 3.18 million and 3.67 million families respectively.
Currently, the programme is nationally funded. However, as the provision
of ten kilograms of rice for a family of five persons represents less than
70 grams per caput/day and provides less than twenty percent of basic calorie
requirements, donor support for the programme could be considered so that
the poorest families receive a larger food ration.
Under the present circumstances, given that economic and agricultural recovery may take some time, there is considerable scope to use project food assistance. This can be done in three principal ways namely (i) support to maternal-child health (MCH) programmes (ii) school feeding and (iii) food for work. The following is a brief review of the current situation for these types of intervention.
i) Maternal-Child Health
UNICEF has recently started a programme in selected geographical areas in Java for the distribution of a national blended food, based on rice, soybeans and sugar, with micro-nutrient fortification. The programme targets infants of between 6 and 24 months, which is the critical period for physical and mental development. Distribution is based on 75 grams of blended food per infant/day and is made across the board (malnutrition indicators are not used to target the food, as it is felt that such targeting would have a negative impact). The government is expanding the programme, using additional donor funding and it is anticipated that the provision of a local weaning or blended food will eventually reach some three million infants.
Given the serious problem of anaemia amongst pregnant and lactating mothers, a micro-nutrient enriched food supplement, containing iron and possibly comprising either noodles or biscuits, should be considered for this vulnerable group
ii) School feeding
The government has a long-established programme of primary school feeding in "backward villages" (IDT). In some Eastern provinces of the country, however, all villages are covered. The programme covers some 8.2 million children in 52,000 schools and 25,925 villages located in 297districts in all 27 provinces of the country. A mid-morning light meal ("snack") is provided three times a week for 108 days a year. The categorisation of the "backward villages" and eligible schools was made in 1992/93 and has not been changed since that time. Implementation at the village level is through the Womens Association (PKK), whose members plan the menu, purchase locally-produced food and prepare the meals. Government has recently increased the daily per child/meal funding by 40 percent (from Rupiahs 250 to 350 in Western provinces and Rupiahs 350 to 525 in the Eastern provinces). The daily meal should provide 300 calories and 5 grams of protein per child. Government funding for the programme increased from Rupiahs 297 billion in 1997 to Rupiahs 414 billion (US$40 million) in 1998, including management costs.
By its very nature, the programme does not cover many schools in the urban and peri-urban areas. It may be possible to expand the programme into these areas on a temporary, emergency, basis, but the government is concerned that the basic objectives of the programme, particularly the use of local foods, are not undermined. The use of rice as the basis for an expanded temporary primary school feeding programme in the urban and peri-urban areas may warrant further consideration, however, as an exceptional measure, with a primary aim being to encourage young children to return to school or stay in school.
iii) Food for work
Various "food for work" schemes have recently been initiated by WFP (through the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Social Affairs), international NGOs and national organisations in the rural areas. Although difficult to design and implement, there may be some scope for the expansion of "food for work" programmes into urban and peri-urban areas, in order to encourage participation in community works (such as drainage clearance, sanitation and water supply improvements). WFP and the NGO World Vision are currently planning a pilot scheme in Jakarta. It would be important to take into consideration other welfare systems that are in place or are being planned, so that duplication of assistance to the same groups is avoided.
|This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.|
Chief, GIEWS FAO
Telex 610181 FAO I
Ms. J. Cheng-Hopkins
Regional Director, OAC, WFP
Telex: 626675 WFP 1
The Special Alerts/Reports can also be received automatically by E-mail
as soon as these are published, subscribing to the GIEWS/Alerts report
ListServ. To do so, please send an E-mail to the FAO-Mail-Server at
the following address:
To be deleted from the list, send the message: