Analysis of Indonesian Government Strategies to Food Security: Harnessing the Potential of Natural and Human Resources

Analysis of Indonesian Government Strategies to Food Security: Harnessing the Potential of Natural and Human Resources

Published: 2019.09.20
Accepted: 2019.09.20
Deputy Secretary General
National Leadership Council Indonesian Farmers Union (HKTI)
Department of Agronomy, National Chung Hsing University


In the Asia Pacific region, Indonesia is the second largest agrarian based developing country after China. Indonesian agricultural production can meet domestic and even foreign food needs. In broad areas of agriculture and climate, Indonesia has great potential to produce food and even become a world food barn. However, Indonesia still faces several food supply crises, export-import problems, insufficient agricultural products, and environmental issues. Food security is a multidimensional issue that contains complex aspects, including social, economic, political, and environmental aspects. In each developing country, constitutional interests are often the primary or dominant factor in the decision-making process to determine the direction of food policy. Indonesia is a sizeable agrarian country that has great potential in realizing national and even global sustainable food security Over time, the Indonesian government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, made many improvements in terms of management of human resources and natural resources. The Ministry of Agriculture formed the Food Security Agency, which played an active role in supporting Indonesia's food security. According to the Global Food Security Index, Indonesia has experienced a very rapid increase since 2017 (currently ranked 65th globally) (GFSI, 2019) and according to the Atlas Food Security and Vulnerability, Indonesia has progressed in value as many as 117 areas spread across Indonesia have escaped food insecurity in 2018 (Food Security Agency, 2019). This analysis paper will discuss the current conditions of Indonesian food security, along with an analysis of government policies and strategies, the issues and challenges faced by policymakers. The core of this research study presented how the Indonesian government is unlocking potential for food security through natural resources and human resources management. 


Food security, based on the definition of the National Food Security Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture, is a condition for fulfilling food supplies for countries to individuals to be able to live healthily, actively and productively in a sustainable manner.    

According to the State Law of the Republic of Indonesia No. 18 the Year of 2012 concerning food. Indonesian Food Security is "the fulfillment of food for countries to individuals, which is reflected in the availability of adequate food, both in number and quality, safe, diverse, nutritious, equitable and affordable and does not conflict with the religion, beliefs and culture of the community, to live a healthy, active, and productive life in a sustainable manner, while Indonesian food sovereignty is the right of the nation that independently determines food policies that guarantees the right to food for the people and which gives the community the right to determine food systems that are in accordance with local resource potential " (RI Constitution, 2012).  

Indonesia is the largest agricultural country and has tremendous potential to produce world food. Nevertheless, Indonesia still imports food commodities to meet domestic needs; the most imported commodities are sugar cane, maize, and rice. On the other hand, the problem of food security in the production aspect begins with a massive increase in food production, but on the one hand, it turns out that the population still lacks food. This condition happens due to the weak aspect of food distribution, which also causes an imbalance in food prices between eastern and western Indonesia.

For the daily needs of Indonesian society, food is often identified with rice because it is the leading staple food. Experience has proven to us that disturbances in food security such as the skyrocketing increase in rice prices during the economic crisis of 1997/1998, which developed into a multidimensional crisis, have triggered social insecurity that endangers economic and national stability (PERUM BULOG, 2018). 



Rice supply throughout Indonesia in 2014 was 70,832 tons, corn was 19,033 tons, and soybean was 954 tons. While rice imports in 2014 were at least 175,601 tons, maize imports were 3.5 million tons, and soybean imports were 1500 million tons. The increase in rice production between 2010 and 2014 increased by an average of 1.63% per year. Similarly, corn production increased even at a lower level of around 1.11% per year, and soybean production increased by 1.93% per year. Domestic production is very minimal compared to the demand. Then this is the main root of the weak national food security in Indonesia to this day. 

Domestic position

In 2015, Food Security and Vulnerability Atlas (FSVA) Report covering 398 districts in 32 provinces, of the 398 districts analyzed, there were 58 districts (15%) that were vulnerable to food insecurity and 136 districts (34%) with moderate levels of vulnerability and 204 districts (51%) classified as a district that is food resistant (FSVA, 2015). A total of 117 districts throughout Indonesia experienced a significant increase in food security. The status of this improvement shown from the data and information presented in the 2018 FSVA Report. In 2015  FSVA report, 75 districts were considered vulnerable food areas, registered a 19% increase in 2018. Meanwhile, 102 other districts which were categorized as food security areas, have risen to 26%.


The Indonesian government has succeeded in reducing the prevalence of poverty over the past few years. This result is the work of the government's focus on equalizing the national economy. The government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, spends approximately 0.75% of a gross domestic product on social assistance. In 2019, the government allocated the National Revenue Budget for social assistance to become 50 trillion Rupiahs (US$ 3.5 billion), an increase of around 40 % from 2018. Increasing the budget allocation for social assistance programs such as Rice for Poor (Raskin Program) coupled with reforms to improve the effectiveness and sensitivity of nutrition programs, can have a substantial impact on food access, and Market Operations programs.

Food access

The government through a Special Program (UPSUS Program) has succeeded with the results of national food prices beginning to stabilize in 2018. However, the availability of some food commodities has not been well distributed evenly in eastern Indonesia and the archipelago. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, food distribution is still not well developed, which results in instability between supply and demand on a national scale.

Nutrition access

Indonesia is in the top five countries with the highest prevalence of stunting in Asia-Africa. In Indonesia, both the poor and non-poor are still experiencing malnutrition. Even though Indonesia has achieved food self-sufficiency, Indonesia is experiencing a food security crisis from the nutrition sector. Food industry from the private sector prioritizes low cost processed food, which results in nutritional deficiencies of Indonesian people from all walks of life. The accessibility of nutritious food is unaffordable and very expensive. Early education on nutrition is also very minimal. In 2013, the government established Presidential Regulation no. 42/2013 concerning the National Movement for the Acceleration of Nutrition Improvement to improve national food security. The Ministry of Agriculture also supports the diversification program of food commodities to support the improvement of national nutrition through agriculture products.


The policy direction for strengthening food security is carried out with five main strategies, including: 

1.           Prioritizing the development of agriculture and rural-based economies to increasing domestic food production capacity, providing employment and increasing community income; 

2.           Fulfillment of food for community groups, especially chronic and transient poor people (due to natural, social and economic disasters) through the distribution of food aid; 

3.           Community empowerment in order to be able to take advantage of the local resource-based, nutrition balance and adequacy program (B2SA Program); 

4.           Promotion and education of the community to utilize B2SA Program based local resources; 

5.           Handling the quality of fresh food safety. 

The government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, established the National Food Security Agency (BKP). The main program being carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture is the Program for Increasing Diversification and Community Food Security. With a focus on activities: a) equitable welfare and handling poverty and food insecurity; b) sustainable food house area (KRPL Program); c) farming corporation development (PKU Program); d) community food storage (LPM Program).

To carry out the Program for Increasing Diversification and Community Food Security, four activities are carried out in accordance with the duties and functions of the Food Security Agency, namely: a) development of availability and handling of food insecurity; b) development of food price distribution and stability systems; c) development of diversity in consumption and food safety; and d) management and other technical support to the food security agency.

In achieving the strategic goals of the national food security, Food Security Agency (BKP) has prepared several programs and activities as the primary national agenda as follows: 

•          Stabilization of availability and handling of food insecurity: Preparation and analysis of Food Balance Sheet (NBM Program);  Compilation and analysis of Food Security and Vulnerability Maps (FSVA Map); Implementation of Food and Nutrition Alert System (SKPG Program); empowerment of independent food areas; responsive and anticipatory studies; and food availability and vulnerability monitoring.

•          Smallholder welfare improvement: Smallholder empowerment and gender equality program; development of plantation plant value chains; development of agricultural marketing and production in rural areas; 

•          Improvement of institutional capability of food distribution and reserves and food price stability: strengthening community food distribution institutions (LDPM Program); empowering community food barns (LPM Program); Community Food Development (PUPM Program) / Indonesian Farmer Cooperation Shop (TTI Program); Monitoring the supply of food prices facing national religious holidays (HBKN Program); Monitoring of supply, price, distribution, food reserves and food price volatility; responsiveness and anticipatory food distribution study; food distribution study. 

•          Increasing diversification of food consumption and food safety: empowerment of food gardens; advocacy, campaigning, promotion and outreach on local food consumption to officials and the community; monitoring diversification of food consumption; analysis of consumption patterns and food consumption needs; development of local MSME food processing businesses and households; supervision of food safety and quality. 


The state regulations governing national food security are regulated in several laws, presidential regulations or presidential mandates, and regulations of the ministry of agriculture as follows: Law Number 41 the Year of 2009 concerning Protection of Sustainable Food Agriculture; Government Regulation No. 68 the Year of 2002 concerning Food Security; Law Number 18 the Year of 2012 Regarding Food; Presidential Regulation No. 83 of 2017 concerning the Strategic Policy for Food and Nutrition; Law Number 12 the Year of 2011 concerning Formation of Regulations and Regulations; Law Number 19 the Year of 2013 concerning Protection and Empowerment of Farmers; Government Regulation No. 17 the Year of 2015 concerning Food and Nutrition Resilience; Presidential Regulation No. 22 the Year of 2009 concerning the Policy to Accelerate Diversification of Local Resource-Based Food Consumption; and Ministry of Agriculture Decree No. 11 of 2016 concerning Technical Guidelines for Strengthening Community Food Distribution Institutions 2016.

In addition to the regulation of state laws, the Ministry of Agriculture conducts program actions that have been implemented to accelerate Indonesia's food security efforts. The following are ministerial regulations made to regulate the programs of President Joko Widodo's Working Cabinet:

•          No. 43 / Permentan / OT / 140/10/2009 regarding the Movement for the Acceleration of Diversification of Local Resource-Based Food Consumption;

•          No 65 / Permentan / OT.140 / 12/2010 concerning Minimum Service Standards for Provincial / District / City Food Security;

•          No 27 / Permentan / PP.200 / 4/2012 concerning Guidelines for Purchasing Price of Grain and Rice Beyond Quality from the Government Supply;

•          No 15 / Permentan / OT.140 / 2/2013 concerning the Program for Improvement of Community Food Disinfection and Resilience in the 2013 Food Security Agency;

•          No 21 / Permentan / PP.200 / 4/2015 concerning Guidelines for Purchasing Price of Grain and Rice Outside Quality by the Government;

•          Joint Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture and Head of the State Personnel Agency No 47 / Kementan / Ministry of Agriculture / Office No.240/8/2015;

•          No 69 / Permentan / OT.110 / 12/2015 concerning Guidelines for Calculating the Need for Functional Position Analysis of Food Security;

•          No 07 / Permentan / PP.200 / 3/2017 concerning Absorption of Grain Beyond Quality in Government Assignments;

•          No 12 / Permentan / PP.320 / 5/2017 concerning Market Operations using Government Rice Reserves in the context of Price Stabilization;

•          No. 31 / Permentan / PP / 130/8/2017 concerning Rice Quality Classes;

•          No 37 of 2017 concerning Amendment to Permentan No 09 concerning Corn in passing;

•          No 48 / Permentan / PP130 / 12/2017 regarding Special Rice Program;

•          No. 11 / Permentan / KN.130 / 4/2018 concerning the Determination of the Amount of Rice Reserves of the Regional Governments;

•          No 53 / Permentan / KR.040 / 12/2018 concerning Safety and Quality of Fresh Food of Plant Origin;

•          No ten the Year of 2019 concerning the Sustainable Food Torch 2019;

•          No 18 the Year of 2019 concerning Procedures for Adjustment / In passing Civil Servants in Functional Position in Agriculture;

•          No 22 the Year of 2019 concerning amendments to the Ministry of Agriculture Regulation No. 10 the Year of 2019 concerning the 2019 Sustainable Food Torch


Since 2014 until now, there are still several government policies that are contrary to one another. This policy paradox is also often not in line with the mandate of the agricultural sector law. For example, the government has made food imports several times, especially rice. This is contrary to the explanation of the Ministry of Agriculture regarding the condition of rice data, which continues to increase. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the potential for rice production will continue to increase. 

In January 2018, there were 2,668,764 tons, February with 5,388,600 tons, March with 7,441,842 tons, and April with 5,283,498 tons. Not only rice, but imports are also carried out on corn commodities. Even though, at the same time, the Ministry of Agriculture also exports corn. That is, the imports made so far are not through recommendations or coordination with the relevant technical minister who is contrary to the state law. 

Based on the State Law 18 the Year of 2012 concerning Food Article 36, Paragraph 1 explained, "Food imports can only be done if domestic food production is insufficient and cannot be produced domestically." Even in Paragraph 2 the same article is explained, "Food Import The main thing can only be done if domestic Food Production and National Food Reserves are insufficient, "and in Article 3 it states" The adequacy of domestic Basic Food Production and Government Food Reserves is determined by ministers or government institutions that have the task of carrying out government duties in the Food sector. " Obviously. Rice imports that have been carried out by the central government are not only contrary to the Food Law but also harm the smallholder farmers. In fact, in plain view, the government has straddled the Law on the Protection and Empowerment of Farmers. 

The problem of food in Indonesia today is not only a matter of imports but also the problem of diversification and distribution of food. The government does not seem to have a complete grand strategy here. Existing policies contradict each other and weaken each other. Another fact that proves that the government is less severe in managing food problems is that the food department council has not yet been formed to date. Law Number 18 the Year of 2012 concerning Food, Article 126 mandates to establish a Government institution that handles the Food sector, which is under and is directly responsible to the President. 

The current government program has always focused on increasing the amount of production so that Indonesia has achieved food self-sufficiency. However, it is still vulnerable to national food security. It is clear that national-level self-sufficiency does not necessarily address the issue of food distribution and access to food in a fair and equitable manner (Timmer, 2004). Although Indonesia can overcome the problem of the production of agricultural products, if it is not leveled in all areas in Indonesia, it will be difficult to achieve food security and food sovereignty. 


The Ministry of Agriculture will focus on efforts to improve the competency of quality agricultural, human resources and develop agricultural infrastructure in the preparation of work programs for the fiscal year 2020. Ministry of Agriculture received the mandate from the central government to succeed in national priorities in value-added economic programs and employment opportunities, as well as food, water, and environmental security. Based on this, the Ministry of Agriculture will emphasize the 2020 work program on efforts to build quality agricultural, human resources, and build infrastructure in order to accelerate national food security in the future. 

The government has taken the form of cooperation with national scale organizations, banks, private sectors, and investors. For the sake of the success of the Food Security Agency programs, a legal collaboration was carried out with the agencies as follows: Gadjah Mada University, Sago Producing District Communication Forums throughout Indonesia (Kapassindo Focus), Indonesian Cassava Society (MSI), Pasundan Bumi Organic Farmers Association (Asetna Bunda), the Indonesian Food and Beverage Entrepreneurs Association (GAPMMI), the Indonesian Women Entrepreneurs Association (IWAPI), the Minister of Villages for Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration, and the Army Chief of Staff, Directorate General of Development and Empowerment of Village Communities, Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Areas and Transmigration, Indonesian Armed Forces, BULOG General Corporation, Champion of Shallot Commodities Organization and Champion of Various Chili Commodities Organization, Indonesian Meat Importers' Association of Indonesian Meat Entrepreneurs, Association of Indonesian Animal Protein Entrepreneurs, Association of Medium-Small, Small-Scale Meat Processing Entrepreneurs and Users Household, and Association of Indonesian Meat Distributor, Bumiputera Nusantara Indonesian Entrepreneurs Association (ASPRINDO), PT. Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa, Activist Empowerment and Family Welfare Team (PKK) Center, Police Retirement Big Family Association (PP Polri), and Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) (National Food Security Agency, 2019)


The Ministry of Agriculture through the Food Security Agency will change the legislation as the closest term. Below are four rules that will be amended in the 18th Amendment of the Food Law No. 18 the Year of 2012; Design of Presidential Regulations on Approval of Protocol to amend the ASEAN Plus Three regarding Rice Reserve Agreement; Ministerial Regulatory Plan on Food and Nutrition System; and Sustainable Agricultural Power System Legal Plan.


Generally, the government and education forum have discussed a lot about the importance of food security, efforts to realize food self-sufficiency, efforts to improve farmers' welfare, national equality both economically and food and nutrition needs. There are also many publications and designs of the government that is publicly known. Even food security is also the main subject of discussion since early education. However, it is very rare for Indonesians to understand the laws and government programs regarding national food security program. Information about the food security program is very rarely found in newspapers, news, and social media. This makes it difficult for Indonesia to realize domestic food security. However, Indonesia has enormous potential to become the world's food barn in the years ahead. Below are the results of the discussion, which is the result of a qualitative analysis based on surveys and investigations with regional officials and the Indonesian Food Security Agency. 

In simple terms, food security in Indonesia can be achieved by educating individuals to fulfill their nutritional needs through substitute food sources other than rice, such as maize, cassava, beans, and others. This situation is due to the experience of the national crisis due to a drastic increase in rice prices each year, especially in the 1998 monetary crisis. This strategy has been discussed and verified by several regional officials that the most effective way to avoid people's aggressiveness about food needs is the substitution of carbohydrate consumption other than rice. 

Food distribution is also one of the strategies that can be done not only by the government but also in the private sector, such as the logistics business. Efforts to distribute food to remote parts of Indonesia, especially eastern Indonesia, must be increased. Unstable food price conditions result in a lack of nutritional and food supplies to remote areas. On the other hand, agricultural production from Java and Sumatra can be widely distributed throughout Indonesia. If farmers only distribute their products to large intermediaries who only focus on exports, this will reduce the performance of farmers and especially hinder the efforts of the Indonesian government in realizing national food security. 


Indonesia is a vast country that is very rich in natural and human resources. There are several components that are needed and must be fulfilled to achieve a condition of national food security: adequacy of food availability; the stability of food availability without seasonal or yearly fluctuations; affordability of food (price and availability); and quality and safety of foodstuffs.  

Food issues in Indonesia to this day still face many difficulties in their efforts to meet food security targets. The main criterion of food security itself is the fulfillment of the availability and adequacy of food for each individual to ensure the continuation and development of a healthy life, such as adequate and balanced nutrition. 

It is a very challenging situation for a developing country to achieve food self-sufficiency and food security stable for an extended period; it requires high consistency from the government, industry, and citizens. Besides, optimizing the use of technology and improving food management is also an essential note. The Indonesia government should create a competitive food system in the Pancasila economic system in order to optimize the domestic food and agriculture market.

Government programs and regulations in the Working Cabinet are very focused on the welfare of human resources that prioritizes the welfare of the poor through agriculture and food sovereignty. The Ministry of Agriculture since 2014 is addressing various issues surrounding food security such as food production and distribution, food inventory and food chain mechanisms, national food price stability, achieving nutritional and nutritional balance, access to food availability, economic access, equalization of the national economy, and management of consumption patterns and market demand. As a result, the government has succeeded in overcoming food insecurity in various districts and corners of Indonesia, leveling national food prices, and meeting market need. This time the government policy has been analyzed, and as a result, it can unlock Indonesia's potential through human resources as well as natural resources therefore the government program is expected to succeed in overcoming the issue of food security in Indonesia sooner.


RI Constitution (2012). The State Law of the Republic of Indonesia No. 18 the Year of 2012 concerning Food (UU RI No 18 Tahun 2012).

PERUM BULOG (2018). Data Statistik Perum Bulog 2018. Retrieved from

National Food Security Agency (2019). Badan Ketahanan Pangan (BPK) Report. Ministry of AgricultureGFSI (2019). Global Food Security Index-Indonesia. Retrieved from

Food Safety and Vulnerability Atlas (2015). FSVA 2015 Report. Ministry of Agriculture. Retrieved from

Timmer, P. (2004). Food Security in Indonesia:  Current Challenges and the Long-Run Outlook. Working Paper Number 48 November 2004. Center for Global Development

Date submitted: July 22, 2019
Reviewed, edited and uploaded: August 12, 2019