The governments of RI must wisely anticipate the potential outburst of crisis in energy, clean water, and food. To anticipate energy crisis, the government had planned to increase price of subsidized oil and that the same time develop alternative non-fossil energy. Meanwhile for resiliency in clear water, the government must build and rehabilitate water reservoirs, dams, alkes and rivers to hold water.
Lastly, for Indonesia’s food resiliency and sovereignty, it seemed that the government has no sound program. Even if there was any program at all, there were many people who were ignorant about it. And yet the fulfillment of food was of ultimate importance because it was a matter of man’s survival.
For information, today more than 50% of expenditure of Indonesia families were allocated for food. The biggest portion was for wheat seeds like rice, slightly below 10% of expenditure. Based on that eating platform, it was understandable that restlessness of food price greatly influence welfare level of Indonesia families.
The recent uncontrolled food price seemed to oblige all related parties to make evaluation on food resiliency. Wherever food resiliency strategy was aimed at, must be clearly formulated. Common perceptions and same vision of all ministries of the problem should be pre-requirement before any action was made.
In view of the above, it’s about time that the implementation of built in control by way of involving multi ministries which called for inter-ministerial coordination be abandoned by way of openly giving mono-authority to a certain ministry; moreover if the accountable related ministry was unable to run their mission well, they should be deprived of the privilege and pass on the task to another ministry.
To build national food resiliency was a noble task by the citizens of this country. However it should be understood that the mission would only be fruitful if from the very beginning the aim was known and understood and stakeholders including food producers and business units involved like marketers and distributors.
By understanding the matter, a change of approach could be necessary for maximum result such as to increase production, and to increase added value. For example, increased price of red onions by more than 200% for normal price recently had resulted in scarcity of onions which made it hard for families to make ends meet.
Being troubled by life’s burden, they could easily blame the government who are rated as incapable to do their task. Their statements tend to fight for farmers, the marginal people; who were most of the time used as popularity elevators by the high ranking officials; but what must be done, or when was the right time to do it, was still a far cry from realization.
Another example was the increase price of cow’s meat some months ago where it was clear that the related minister did not fully and comprehensively understand behavior of cattle rearers and distribution platform of meat in Indonesia which ended in fatal outcome. In many countries, it was the culture that in cases as such the related minister would always be a scapegoat to put the blame on.
It must be understood that importing of food which was out of control might undermine national food sovereignty in food. If properly managed, national food industry could fulfill local demand. Excessive importing of food could injure the local industry which supposedly had the potential to fulfill national need.
The case of failure in building national food resiliency was clearlt visible in the case of hard effort to fulfill national meet demand. Without importing, national demand for meat could have been fulfilled because some provinces like NTT, NTB had great potentials to produce enough meat. By relying on meat supply from NTB and NTT, supposedly Indonesia could have surplus of meat each year.
However it was undeniable that facilities and infra structure for meat distribution in Indonesia was still inferior. Supposedly the governments focus attention on the effort to strengthen the national food industry by enhancing self reliance in food at home. This could be realized by allocating higher budget for the food industry sector. Under the circumstances supposedly budgeting be prioritized for self reliance in food instead of setting zero percent import tax on certain food like soy the way it happened last year when there was under supply of soy at home.
The regretful thing was what the government was still resiliency oriented instead of sovereignty oriented in their food policy. Apparently importing was done in excess, ignoring the spirit of self reliance in food. The was just to fill in the stomach till full, no matter where the food came from. Meanwhile souverignity itself was mis-defined.
On the other hand, the threat of food crisis seemed to keep on lurking. What’s more, around 5 million children could not sleep soundly at night as they starved and suffer from mal-nutrition. This painful condition showed that people’s suffering never diminished after 15 of reformation. Indonesia citizens who still lived on 2 dollars per day came close to 100 million in number.
Ideally every citizen had their share of meal everyday. Fast advancement in agro-technology made it possible for the food sector to increase production output. Agro technology swinged up food production like corn, rice, wheat, and meat significantly. Even transgenic technology had shown good results in inventing premium seeds for plantation productivity.
However so far the plentiful food could still not reach every Indonesia citizen. Indonesia must share technology with other nations in producing food. Technology in rice production had been developed and must be constantly developed and applied at home.
The passion to import rice must be controlled, and be replaced by local products that stemmed from the spirit of self supporting to ensure enough provision of food for families. The law no 18 of 2012 stated that food was man’s basic need and therefore it was the right of every citizen to have sufficient food, so with reference to this law the principle of food resilience and food souvreignity must be highly upheld and be the government’s attention.
The wrong approach in food management in overcoming starvation at home had driven some farmer’s organization and communities at national and international level to offer the solution concept for food souverignity. A food management formula which accelerated food diversification plan based on local resources.
In terms of development of food diversification and enhancement of potentials, the scientific approach of food technology experts, the local image of food products could be uplifted to attract the market and drum up consumers. The public could no longer be asked to consume local sago, corn, and cassava the traditional way; they should be developed into new products to be enjoyed the modern way.
The effort to develop and diversify food must be supported by creating favorable climate through government’s political will whereby small-and-medium business [UKM] in food could develop on the basis of local resources. This could enhance rural economic development by on-farm or off-farm.
UKM development in food industry could step up people’s role in the acceleration of food diversification process. This program would encourage consumption of varied meal which were nutritious, well balanced and safe for the people. Moreover the raw materials were available at home so import was not needed.
Finally food crisis must be watched on by minimizing dependency on imported food. Never underestimate food for the people. To find solution, the government must speed up food diversification process adjusted to local food potentials to strengthen food souvereignity the sustainable way. (SS)
Business News - June 14,2013