Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, and has a fast growing economy, but extensive poverty still persists, with 8.25% of the population living below the $1.90 a day (2011 PPP) poverty line (The World Bank, 2017). In 2014, the agriculture sector contributed 14% to Indonesia’s total GDP, and employed 35.1% of the population. Indonesia’s Human Development Index (HDI) stands at 0.689, ranked 113th out of 188 countries Although Indonesia’s HDI has been increasing since 1990, the rate of growth has slowed in recent years.
The average dietary energy supply adequacy (% of total recommended kcal per capita per day) decreased from 122% for the 3-year period 2013-2015 to 121% for 2014-2016, the first decrease recorded since the 3-year period, 1999-2001. The percentage of the Indonesian population suffering from undernutrition was 7.6%, calculated for the 3-year period, 2014-2016. According to 2013 statistics, the percentage of Indonesian children under the age of the 5 who were underweight, suffered from wasting (low weight for height), and suffered from stunting (low height for age) was 19.9%, 36.4%, and 13.5% respectively. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Health’s Riskesdas (Riset Kesehatan Dasar, or Basic Health Research) 2013 report, for West Java, the percentage of children under the age of the 5 suffering from stunting, wasting, and being overweight, was 35.3%, 22.7%, and 11.8% respectively—higher than the national average.
Food production in Indonesia has outpaced population growth over the last ten years . Most of the food crops consumed in Indonesia are produced by smallholder farmers. Most rice production is focused in Java, with West Java being the largest producer.
The Food Security and Vulnerability Atlas of Indonesia (FSVA) 2015 is perhaps the most comprehensive regional overview of food security in Indonesia. Using a food security index based on nine indicators concerning food availability, food access, and food utilisation—where 1 is the least food secure and 6 is the most food secure—the FSVA shows West Java as one of the most food secure provinces in Indonesia, bested only by Central Java, East Java, and East Kalimantan. Of the 18 regencies in West Java province, only 11 regencies are ranked as Priority 5 areas (n = 7) and Priority 6 areas (n = 4). So, despite being more food secure than most other provinces in Indonesia, food insecurity persists to varying degrees across most of the province.
Climate change induced rainfall variation and increasing temperatures are already affecting the production of many farmers. Rice production on Java is projected to be increasingly reduced as the century progresses. West Java has already experienced extensive losses in rice production due to droughts and floods, a trend that is expected to continue (DKP et al., 2015).
These figures show that Indonesia’s progress on food security is at risk of stagnating, or even regressing. The DKP highlight three key areas for improving food security: 1) improving economic access to food, particularly through investment and infrastructure development, 2) accelerating the reduction and prevention of malnutrition, and 3) strongly address climate change-related threats to food security.
BPS 2016. Statistical Yearbook of Indonesia (Statistik Indonesia) 2016. Jakarta, Indonesia: Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS).
DKP, KP & WFP 2015. Food Security and Vulnerability Atlas of Indonesia 2015. Jakarta, Indonesia: Dewan Ketahanan Pangan (DKP), Kementerian Pertanian (KP), and World Food Programme (WFP).
FAO 2015. FAO Statistical Pocketbook 2015. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
FAO. 2017. FAOSTAT Online Database. Updated on 31 July 2017 [Online]. Available:
MoH 2015. Indonesia Health Profile 2014. Jakarta, Republic of Indonesia: Ministry of Health (MoH), Government of the Republic of Indonesia.
MoH 2016. Indonesian Health Profile 2015. Jakarta, Republic of Indonesia: Ministry of Health (MoH), Government of the Republic of Indonesia.
OECD 2012. Review of Agricultural Policies: Indonesia 2012. Paris, France: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Publishing.
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UNDP 2016. Human Development Report 2016: Human Development for Everyone. New York, NY, USA: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).