FAO in Indonesia

Indonesia at a glance

Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago, with more than 17,500 islands. The archipelago stretches between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, and bridges two continents, Asia and Australia/Oceania. This strategic position profoundly influences the country's culture, social and political life, and the economy.

The five main islands are: Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua. There are 583 languages and dialects spoken in the archipelago, representing many different ethnic groups. The national language of Indonesia is known as "Bahasa Indonesia" - or just "Indonesian".

Indonesia is the largest economy in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and has been enjoying economic growth rates of more than six per cent during 2010-12 with rates falling below six percent in 2013 and slowing down further in 2014. In 2014, the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors contributed 13.4 percent to national GDP (down from 15.2% in 2013), and are expected to remain among the key sources for national economic growth, while being critical in contributing towards the eradication of hunger, poverty and malnutrition. In relation to MDG targets, the percentage of the population under the poverty line has decreased insignificantly reaching 11 percent in 2014.

The population is estimated at over 250 million people. The average growth rate of Indonesia's population has gone down to 1.49%, although this varies greatly between provinces. Indonesia has shown agricultural strength in recent years. It doubled cereal production between 1979 and 2009 and almost quadrupled meat production for the same period. It shows that one of the world's most populous countries is able to achieve food self-sufficiency in strategic crops and increase overall levels of food security.

Despite these gains, FAO estimates that 19.4 million people remain undernourished in 2014-2016, down from 35.9 million in 1990-1992. While this is still a large number, it does mean that Indonesia has achieved the MDG-1 hunger target of halving the prevalence of hungry people in the country by 2015: based on most recent estimates, the prevalence of undernourishment in Indonesia dropped from 19.7% in 1990-1992, to 7.6% in 2014-2016.

Other nutrition indicators show that 28 percent of Indonesia's children are underweight and 37 percent of children under 5 suffer from stunted growth, which are worrisome statistics for a middle-income country such as Indonesia. On the other hand, at 71 years of age, average life expectancy is a relatively high.

Located at the intersection of shifting tectonic plates (part of the "Ring of Fire"), Indonesia is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. A powerful undersea quake on 26 December 2004 sent massive waves crashing into coastal areas of Sumatra and into coastal communities across South and East Asia. The disaster left more than 130,000 Indonesians dead. And, while Indonesia has recovered since, the country remains prone to frequent natural disasters.