Food-Self Sufficiency in Indonesia

a paddy field in Pasuruan - self taken photograph

In one morning, I had a chat with a friend of mine. He asked me whether I’m going to have a breakfast or not. Since I don’t usually have breakfast before 10.00 a.m. I cordially refused. We then chat about what he usually have for breakfast and he said that he’d have bread. Facing the challenge of food-self sufficiency, diversifying alternatives of food is one important measure.

What happens right now is that Indonesia, once experienced food-self sufficiency in 1984 (during the reign of our late ex-president Soeharto), is facing a great challenge to meet the needs of food sufficiency. This happens because of at least two reasons:

1. The inability to fulfill production

2. The inability to sustain an even distribution

Our inability to fulfill the needs for our primary staple food, in this case, rice, is because we don’t have enough soil to plant rice (and other kinds of foods). But some part of the problem is caused by our inability to diversify options of food. We have to import rice from other countries, and we can’t even make the price cheap enough for everyone to eat. This also comes from the uneven distribution. Rice distribution is only focused in certain areas. Compared to the 1980s where we have too much rice that we send them to other parts of the world for people that suffer from famine. This action was taken for the benefit of Indonesia itself. By sending out rice, the price of rice in the country wouldn’t fall.

How many of us have listened to people going abroad and utter phrases like “kalau belum makan nasi seperti belum makan” (If I haven’t eaten rice, it feels like I haven’t eaten at all) whereas they perhaps have finished a plate of mashed potatoes or one large portion of whole wheat bread! By doing a food diversification, as simple as eating different kind of food other than rice, we can help and support for food-self sufficiency in Indonesia.

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