Review on Indonesian Government Program Towards Food Security: Local Food Development

Review on Indonesian Government Program Towards Food Security: Local Food Development

Published: 2021.02.23
Accepted: 2021.02.23
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan
Indonesian Center for Agriculture Socio Economic and Policy Studies
Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Distinguished Professor
Department of Forestry, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan


Food security has become a significant discussion point because of its relation to individual welfare in developing countries. Based on Article 33 of the 1945 Constitution, the Indonesian Government in principle has the legal authority to maximize the nation's natural resources to benefit Indonesian citizens' welfare through the regulation and issuance of relevant policies. Regarding food security, Indonesian policies generally focus more on encouraging self-sufficiency in food production to achieve food security, as stipulated in Law Number 18 of 2012 concerning Food. This article will discuss the government programs: Local Food as the Government's response to food security problem can be resolved by self-sufficiency in food production. The development of local food is one of the fundamental aspects of establishing an optimal food system in Indonesia. However, an obstacle to local food development is the great extent of rice consumption and import dependency due to wheat-based food products. Therefore, local food is developed through food diversification programs to promote a diverse, nutritious, balanced, and safe food consumption patterns for a healthy, active, and productive life mandated by Food Law. This program will be continually implemented through follow-up activities from the previous years to develop a diversity of local foods, strengthen its competitiveness against imported foods, and localize its consumption.  

Keywords: local food, food security, food law, development, Indonesia


The importance of food intake can be determined by seeing its role in providing energy, maintaining life, stimulating growth, promoting health and preventing diseases in the human body. In Indonesian law (GoI, 2012), sufficient, safe, valued, nutritious, and varied food must always be available at an affordable price to the community's purchasing power and should not be in conflict with religion, beliefs, and culture. Thus, it is necessary to establish a food system that protects both producers and consumers.

The food system's establishment is carried out to meet basic human needs by providing equitable, sustainable, beneficial, independent and secure products. This program must be considered in terms of (1) the availability of food based on optimal utilization of local resources; (2) the affordability of food based on physical and economic aspects for the whole community and (3) the consumption of nutritious food for a healthy, active, and productive life.  

The availability of food is carried out by diversifying foods and prioritizing domestic food production. Moreover, the affordability of food is managed through stabilization of distribution and price. Meanwhile, the consumption of nutritious food is strengthened to achieve qualitative human resources. In summary, local food development is one of the most fundamental aspects of establishing an optimal food system in Indonesia, including its opportunities and challenges.

In line with local food, it is developed based on food policy programs to achieve targets for stabilizing community food security up to individual level. The primary strategy includes increasing local food diversification program-based local food industry. This program is implemented by improving concept and activity toward increasing diversification and quality of food consumption based on local food industries (BKP, 2020).

The development of local food diversification is a significant part of realizing food sovereignty in Indonesia. These efforts include formulating and implementing policy strategies related to optimizing land use potential and local food consumption habits and developing production, industry and local food consumption. Apart from that, also with the development of food processing technologies, harmonizing production and food industry policies with food consumption policies; healthy, comprehensive, and continuous promotion of local food; creation of local food markets at the national and regional levels; and followed by the provision of local food products that can compete with imported products.

This paper aims to analyze food consumption diversification and develop food diversification strategies based on local foods. The data used are data from the Indonesia Food Security Agency, National Planning Agency, Constitutional Laws, Ministerial Regulations, and several other literary works. Data and information related to the achievement of local food consumption were analyzed descriptively qualitatively, while the analysis of the development strategy of local food diversification used a narrative method.


According to Indonesian Food Law Number 18/2012 (GoI, 2012), food is defined as anything that comes from biological sources of agriculture, including plantation, forestry, fishery, livestock, and water products, whether processed or unprocessed. Food or beverage for human consumption includes food additives, food raw materials and other materials used to make food or beverages. The Food Law No. 18/2012, a revision of the Food Law No. 7/1996, also mandates diversification of local food to measure food sovereignty.

Food is produced from plant and animal sources. In Indonesia, the strategic plant food sources include 10 commodities consisting of rice, corn, soybeans, peanuts, cassava, sweet potatoes, vegetables, fruits, cooking oil and white sugar. Meanwhile, animal food sources consist of five commodities: beef and buffalo, chicken, eggs, milk and fish (BKP, 2019a). During the last five years (2014-2018), strategic commodities' production growth increased, especially cooking oil due to supporting oil palm plantation (Table 1). However, the difference in sugar production growth was negative, presumably due to the declining area of sugarcane plantation.

The highest food consumption is rice. During 2014 to 2018, the proportion of this primary staple food consumption was on average about 96.94 kilogram per capita annually or about 74.76% of the total consumption of strategic food commodities (Figure 1). The highest and lowest growth of food consumption was cooking oil and chili, respectively (Table 2). It is presumably argued that the trend of food consumption has been influenced by the recent development of culinary services, changing households' dietary pattern in the country.

Food contributes to nutrition and energy for human life. During 2014 to 2018, the average daily intake of protein was 79.39 grams per capita, and the energy intake was 3,110 kilocalories per capita. The majority of protein and energy derives from plant sources, namely 71.41 per cent for protein and 93.94 per cent for energy (Table 3).

The recommendation standard for the ideal daily requirement of protein and energy intakes was calculated based on the Food Balance Sheet (NBM)[1]. It includes plant-based foods (cereals, roots and tubers, fats and oils, oilseeds, legumes, sugars and sweeteners, vegetables and fruits) and animal-based foods (meat and eggs). The dimension of food security indicator comprises: (1) the Dietary Energy Adequacy (AKE)[2]; and (2) the Desirable Dietary Pattern (PPH)[3].

The AKE based-food group (Table 4) shows that the energy intake from fats and oils, as well as legumes, increased significantly from 2014 to 2018. It indicates that the dietary energy adequacy of both foods was the highest among other food groups. However, the energy intake from cereals as well as roots and tubers decreased. Meanwhile, the PPH score increased during the same period, about 1.61 % annually, i.e., from 82.80% in 2014 to 88.14% in 2018 (Figure 2). It implies that the composition considering various food groups' proportions was approaching the country's maximum score of nutritional food requirement.


There are some definitions of local foods. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2016), local foods have a geographic connotation. There is no generally accepted definition for the term “local,” consensus on the distance between production and consumption. Local food systems differ from global systems because they contain a short supply chain. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, 2015) defines local foods as the direct or intermediated marketing of food to consumers produced and distributed in a limited geographic area. There is no pre-determined distance to define what consumers consider "local," but a set number of miles from a center point or state/local boundaries are often used. More importantly, local food systems connect farms and consumers at the point of sale. Consumers, schools, hospitals, and other institutions purchase from farms or buy farm products that originate from known, local farms that preserve each item's identity. Each of these varied marketing techniques joins farmers and consumers in the local food system. Common sales points are farmers markets, pick-your-own farms, farm stands and community-supported agriculture partnerships.

The local food in the Indonesian context, according to the Food Law Number 18/2012, is food that is consumed by the local community by local potencies and wisdom (GoI, 2018). Specifically, BKP defines local foods as foods consumed by the local community following local potencies and pearls of wisdom (2019b).

Local foods are essential for human needs as a part of foods. In line with the national biodiversity resources, Indonesia has several types of local foods that contain carbohydrate (77 types); and protein (75 types). It includes (1) 26 types of legumes; (2) 228 types of vegetables; (3) 389 types of fruits; (4) 110 types of spices; and (5) 40 types of beverage ingredients (Bappenas, 2020). The potential local foods in Indonesia, among others, are Cassava, Sweet potato, Corn, Sago, Sorghum. Taro, Breadfruit, Arrowroot, Canna lily, Hanjeli (Coix lacrymal-job), Hotong (Setaria italic), and Iles-iles (Amorphophallus oncophyllus).

As previously discussed, the extent of rice consumption in Indonesia is relatively generous. Therefore, the consumption of other local foods is low. Figure 3 shows the achievement of food consumption against the recommendation standards in the country. It reveals that cereals (mainly rice) and fats and oils have above the recommended dietary energy adequacy (AKE). Meanwhile, the achievements of other foods such as roots and tubers, legumes, and vegetables and fruits, remain below the recommended standards.    

Regarding the food consumption pattern, the aggregate calorie intake is a little bit above the ideal recommendation. On the contrary, the dietary energy pattern (PPH) is below the ideal reference. Implicitly, the local food consumption pattern is not ideally accomplished (Table 5).


The development of the Indonesia Local Food System has been initiated since the 1960s. It has been continuing up to the present known as the food diversification program in order to promote a diverse, nutritious, balanced, and safe food consumption pattern for a healthy, active and productive life for the community citizens.


The local food has a vital role in constructing Indonesia's national food system for some specific reasons (Table 6).


Local foods must be positioned as part of the national food system. It is considered since it can fulfill community nutrition, drive the rural economy and achieve food security (Suryana, 2020). As a result, the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has included local food development as a strategic policy (BKP, 2019b).

The strategic policies include:

  • Alleviating vulnerable areas of food vulnerability and stunting.
  • Strengthening food supply, distribution and reserves.
  • Analysis, studies and procedures related to food security, 
  • Diversification and local food industry, 
  • Enhancing the safety and quality of plant-originated fresh food,  
  • Strengthening the institutional bureaucracy of the food security agency that is effective, efficient and excellent service-oriented


The current pattern of public food consumption is not yet diverse and nutritionally balanced. This is indicated by the high consumption of carbohydrates, particularly rice as compared to other food sources. Besides, there is a shift in the Indonesian people's consumption pattern that encourages instant food consumption-based wheat sources, mostly from import. This is influenced by changing lifestyle, particularly the urban population who prefer simple food preparation (instant food) than conventional food (Toiba, 2016). Therefore, it is necessary to encourage local food development intensively. 

A local food development program has been initiated since 2012, through the Local Staple Food Development Model (MP3L) and transformed into the Local Staple Food Development (P3L) activities in 2018. These programs were relatively inefficient due to the low business scale and less comprehensive (Suryana, 2020). Therefore, the Indonesian MoA currently establishes the Food Industry Development (PIPL) program in 2019 (BKP, 2019b).

The PIPL program focuses on producing raw materials for the flour-based food processing industry. It is expected to be more encouraging for the realization of local food industrialization that produces competitive food products. This is aimed at motivating producers and attracting consumers to produce and consume local food, respectively. It consists of three activities: (1) Diversification of local food based-local wisdom focusing on one main commodity, (2) Massive utilization of local foods such as cassava, corn, sago, banana, sweet potato, and sorghum; and (3) Utilization of yards and marginal lands through sustainable yard activities (BKP, 2019b and Suryana, 2020).

Several operational policy suggestions to achieve the success target of local food diversification (Suryana, 2000), include: (1) Designing the program as one of the national priorities; (2) Increasing the availability of local food-based resources, culture, and local wisdom; (3) Improving the quality of public food consumption by referring to the dietary intake which is balanced and safe nutrition-based local food; (4) Integrating the upstream to downstream local food managements through supporting innovative technology and financing policies; and (5) Involve the related stakeholders, particularly private sector through partnership scheme to provide a sustainable local food market.  


Indonesia has rich local food resources. However, locally processed food products have not competed with wheat-based food products in terms of quality and price. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a business-oriented food processing industry model based on local food potencies. The development of a local food system is strongly related to the food diversification program. It involves: (1) Developing local food-based diversity of commodity and area resources, (2) Strengthening local food industry competitiveness towards other food industries-based imported raw materials, (3) Campaigning and promoting local food in line with nutritional content, and (4) Localizing community food consumption pattern. Hence, it is badly needed to design a road map of local food-based local industrial framework models since the schedule as part of the lengthy or complicated program (road map) has not been formulated yet.

The government and private institutions jointly optimize various local food sources adapted to environmental conditions, geography and local community patterns. By optimizing public access to food and maintaining it, controlling food distribution and logistics and price stability, this program is designed to address the food system's vulnerability due to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Meanwhile, each regional Government coordinates with the central Government to issue policies tailored to the region's local food cultures, such as cassava, corn, sago, banana, potato and sorghum.             


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[1]   NBM is a table containing the comprehensive supply and utilization of food in an area within a certain period. (BKP, 2019)

[2]  AKE indicates the average energy requirements that must be daily fulfilled with certain characteristics.  It is recommended that the average energy and protein adequacy rates for Indonesian are 2,100 kilo-calories per capita per day and 57 grams per capita per day. (MoH, 2019)

[3]  PPH represents the composition score (maximum 100) based on the proportion of energy balance from various food groups to achieve nutritional needs both in quantity and quality. (BKP, 2019)