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Geography, climate and population


Indonesia is a tropical archipelago composed of 17 504 islands. It extends over about 1.9 million km2 and the coastline exceeds 54 000 km, which is more than the circumference of the globe making it the country with the second longest coastline after Canada. The major islands are Sumatra, Java, Nusa Tenggara (including Bali), Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, and Papua (previously Irian Jaya). Most of the major islands have a mountain range running their entire length. The mountains are of volcanic origin and some are still active. The elevations on the islands range from 0 to 5 030 m above sea level. Since 2005 the country has been divided administratively into 33 provinces. In 2006, the provinces were subdivided into 349 regencies (kabupaten) and 91 cities (kota), 5 656 subdistricts (kecamatan), and 71 563 villages (desa/kelurahan). Jakarta is the capital city of the country, located on the island of Java.

The total cultivated area in 2009 was 42.6 million ha, which is around 22 percent of the total area of the country. Arable land was an estimated 23.6 million ha and the area under permanent crops 19.0 million ha (Table 1). Farm holdings in Indonesia are relatively small: 34 percent are less than 0.25 ha and a further 25 percent are between 0.25 and 0.50 ha.


Indonesia is located in a wet tropical region with an average annual rainfall of about 2 700 mm, varying from 1 300 mm in East Nusa Tenggara to 4 300 mm in parts of Papua (Bappenas, 2004).

There are two seasons: the dry and the wet. The dry season is influenced by the Australia continental air masses and lasts from March to August. The wet season is influenced by the Asia Continental and Pacific air masses passing over the oceans and lasts from September to March. The heaviest rainfall is usually from November to February.

Temperatures range from 21 °C to 33 °C, but at higher altitudes the climate is cooler. Humidity is between 60 and 80 percent.


In 2009, the total population was almost 237 million, of which 56 percent was rural (Table 1). There are four people in an average household. Population growth rate decreased sharply, from 2.1 percent per year during the period 1979-1989 to 1.2 percent per year from 1999 to 2009. Over time, Indonesia’s population has been concentrated on Java Island, which contains 59 percent of the total population, while its land area is only 7 percent of the total land area of the country. Therefore, population density in Java was 1 019 people/km2 in 2009, while population density at the national level was 125 inhabitants per km2.

In 2006, 80 percent had access to improved drinking water sources (89 and 71 percent for urban and rural population respectively) and sanitation coverage reached 52 percent (67 and 37 percent for urban and rural population respectively). About 60 percent of households have their own toilet facilities. In 2006, there were about 30 million poor, which is equal to 18 percent of the total population. The level of urban poverty (13 percent) is lower than that of rural areas (22 percent).


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       Quote as: FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT website. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].
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