Indonesia is a country that has made great strides in combating hunger. This Southeast Asian country consists of hundreds of volcanic islands, making it prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Government programs have given resources to those who need help, and there are many positives in the list of top 10 facts about hunger in Indonesia.
Top 10 Facts about Hunger in Indonesia
- Although the percentage of people enrolled in primary schools has increased to nearly 100 percent in urban areas, this number remained below 60 percent in rural areas of Indonesia. Food programs are offered in some primary schools, and in 2017, Indonesia established the Indonesia School Meals Programme (Pro-GAS) to provide healthy breakfasts to 100,000 children in 11 districts in the country.
- The rate of poverty in Indonesia has been steadily decreasing, from 24 percent of the population experiencing poverty, down to 11.3 percent in 2014. However, 43.5 percent of the population still lives on less than $2 per day.
- The rate of proper nutrition has somewhat stagnated since 2007, with stunting rates of 37 percent nationally, according to UNICEF. Stunting is the impaired development and growth of children resulting from malnutrition. The Government of Indonesia is well aware of the health concerns associated with stunting, as the vice president of the country enacted a National Strategy to Accelerate Stunting Prevention in 2017. The strategy will pledge $14.6 billion to converge priority nutrition interventions that include food insecurity measurements, dietary diversity and basic immunization.
- Despite this, the availability of fruits and vegetables almost doubled from 1990 to 2013. This jump in production can partly be accredited by the government program known as Good Agricultural Practices or Indo-GAP. The program gives farmers better education on safe and effective agricultural methods, while also providing resources like land and fertilizer.
- Stunting caused by malnutrition also has an impact on Indonesia’s GDP, resulting in a 2-3 percent loss on the economy. Children who grow up with stunting are less likely to be properly educated, less likely to work in skilled labor, as well as having lower income attainment. These factors of undernutrition affect the economy because of the overall loss in productivity.
- Fluctuating food prices have also contributed to hunger in Indonesia. It is estimated that the food inflation rate increased by 12.77 percent from 1997 to 2018. This can be attributed to rising energy costs, with energy prices rising 28 percent between 2008 and 2011. Agriculture commodity prices rose 17 percent from 2008 to 2011 as well. While higher food prices allow farmers to make more profits, it negatively affects people living in poverty who rely on low food prices.
- Indonesia’s Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), pledged at the United Nations summit in 2000, were a committed global partnership in fighting global poverty and hunger with a deadline of 2015. Indonesia achieved its number one goal of halving the number of people living in hunger between 1990-2015. The prevalence of undernourishment decreased from 19.7 percent in 1990-1992, to 7.6 percent in 2014-2016.
- Indonesia is prone to natural disasters as it is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Earthquakes are common due to a high degree of tectonic activity. Volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and floods also affect the country. A 6.9 magnitude earthquake in the city of Lombok in August 2018 resulted in 565 casualties. Calamities like this lead to hunger as food security and land are destroyed in the process.
- Indonesia’s government National Medium-Term Development Plan was established in 2015, with the goal of improving nutrition and the quality of food, as well as reducing the negative effects natural disasters have on food security. The long-term goal of the program is to help 9 million people achieve food security by 2020.
- One of the government subsidy programs that has been beneficial in addressing hunger is Raskin, a program established in 1998 that allows low-income families to purchase 15kg of rice at 20 percent of the market price. In 2012, the budget for Raskin was $1.5 billion with a targeted population of 17.5 million households.
While there is still room for improvement, Indonesia has taken the necessary steps to address and take action in reducing county in the country. The Government of Indonesia has been a great supporter of the country’s efforts.
– Casey Geier