By : Said Abdullah
As food is fundamental for human survival, its adequate provision is attached to the basic rightd of humans, Indonesian Law No. 18 Year 2012 on Food states that food is human’s most vital basic need and that its provision is a human right ensured in the Indonesian 1945 Constitution. As a human right, the availability, accessbility, as well as adequate provision and supply of quality and nutritionally balanced food – at the national, regional, and individual level – must be guaranteed by government. Moreover, the availability of food must exist evenly throughout the country at all times by utilizing local resources, institutions, and culture.
In reality, the right to food has not been fulfilled equally throughout the country. According to the National Comission for the Protection of the Child, until late 2012, approximately 8 million children under five are undernourished, ranking Indonesia fifth among countries with the highest rate of undernourishment in the world (The Globe Journal, 2013). Moreover, the 2015 Food Resilience and Vulnerability Map of Indonesia shows that 15% out of 398 kabupaten has a high vulnerability rate of food insecurity (Kompas, 2015). This figure is less compared to 2005 which reached 22% out of all the kabupaten (Kompas.com, 2015).
The insecurity is due to a failure in the food production and distribution system, creating an inadequate quality of consumption. In addition, the production of staple food, i.e., rice, corn, soybean, meat and sugar, has fluctuated in the last five years (KRKP, 2012). This has resulted in the imbalance of the supply and demand ratio. As a consequences, food import increases. The Agricultural Sector Macro Statistics (2014) recorded that in 2012 indonesia’s food import had reached its peak, which is USD8 billion with a volume of 18.2 million metric tons. During the period of 2009-2013, Indonesia’s food import grew 32.7% and 22.9% per year. On the other hand, the food distribution system which is controlled by the corporate world thrugh market mechanism is creating more inequity. Hunger is more often caused by unequal food distribution which affects part of the population (Witoro, 2012).
The Food Sovereignity Approach
The People’s Coalition for Food Sovereignity (KRKP) sees food sovereignity as an answer to the problems above. By using this approach, food sovereignity is develop through the strenghtening of the community food system at the local and regional level so that it is more resilient toward food price spike. The term community food system or “barn” is defined as a food system in which food production, processing, distribution, and consumption are integrated to enhance the enviromental, economic, social, and nutritional health of a particular area.
Through the community food system, food provision and supply is ensured by offering a range of alternatives to the community which will, in a participatory manner, determine how they will manage production, storage, distribution, and consumption of food. The barn is a form of community food system generally found in many communities. It allows communities to have control over their own food, ensuring its sustainable provision and supply.
Solidarity for Food Sovereignity
The KRKP encourages changes in policies, paradigm, and development patterns of food and agriculture which will support the development of a community food system in the form of a barn that relies on potentially sustainable local resources. For this purpose, advocacy is undertaken at the provincial, kabupaten, and villlage levels. These areas include kabupaten Sumba timur, Kabupaten Timor Tengah Utara, and Kabupaten Flores Timur in the Province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). The community food system in this province is developed through awareness raising, solidarity and cooperation among community members to strengthen their own capacity to access basic necessities.
In cooperation with a network of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), since 2008 KRKP has engaged in advocacy work by developing program collaboration with the regional government (i.e., the Food Resilience Agency), civil society, and local NGOs. The program is called Desa Mandiri Pangan menuju Desa Sejahtera (DMPDS)1. DMPDS is a modification of an earlier program called Desa Mandiri Pangan (meaning food sovereign village, usually referred to by its acronym, Demapan). In this new program, adjustment to local conditions have been made in terms of approaches, guidelines, and implementation. For this program the government provides a stimulus fund and facilities for program implementation, while NGOs provide facilitators and funding support.
The policy impact on this program is the development of a good co-working synergy across regional government task forces (Satuan Kerja Perangkat Daerah/SKPD) in the program areas. Each SKPD works to achieve the same objective, that is, to increase the food resilience and autonomy of the people. In addition, the village government has adopted Local Government regulation (Perda) No. 130 Year 2009 on the Development of Local Food Sufficiency (Movement for the Development of Hilu Liwanya) by issuing a village regulation (perdes) on the development of local food sufficiency by making it compulsory for the community to preserve at least 20 different types of local crops.
To date, the concept of food sovereignity has not been fully adopted in Law No. 18 Year 2012 on Food, although it has been an important element within the law. The presence of a law that somewhat contains the idea of sovereignty is expected to provide solutions to problem regarding food sufficiency.
At the community level, the impact of the program is visible from the increase of food provision. The community also has a food reserve at the village barn which is managed independently by the village food team (TPD). The most significant change brought about thi program is the attitude of the community members. These people now believe in their strength to achieve sovereignity and they believe that by doing it themselves and by using local potentials, they will be able to free themselves from the threat of hunger.
Nevertheless, the independency and sustainability of the program remains a big challenge. To overcome these challenges calls for sequential certainity. To ensure program sustainability community members can take over by internalizing and transforming a program that was designed by people outside their community and turn it into something that their own people think is essential. This is achieved through the growth and autonomy of existing institutions. In addition, there is a need to create a policy enviroment that supports the goal of achieving community food autonomy and sovereignity.
List of References
Kompas.com. WPF : 15 Persen dari 398 Kabupaten Masih Rawan Pangan. Rabu, 8 Juli 2015 [15% Out of 398 Kabupaten still Experience Food Insecurity] [online] <http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2015/07/08/12523501/WFP.15.Persen.dari.398.Kabupaten.Masih.Rawan.Pangan> [14 September2015].
KRKP (2012) Booklet Data dan Fakta Situasi Pangan Indonesia 2012. Bogor : KRKP.
Pusat Data dan Sistem Informasi Pertanian (2014) Statistik Makro Sektor Pertanian 4 (2). [Macrostatistics for the Agricultural Sector]. Jakarta : Pusat Data dan Sistem Informasi Pertanian, Kementrian Pertanian.
The Globe Journal (2013) Delapan Juta Balita Indonesia Alami Gizi Buruk [Eight Millions Under-fives in Indonesia Experience Malnutrition] [online] <http://theglobejournal.com/kesehatan/delapan-juta-balita-indonesia-alami-gizi-buruk/index.php> [21 Mei 2013]
WFO (2009) Peta Ketahanan dan Kerentanan Pangan Indonesia 2009. [Map of Food Security and Vulnerability in Indonesia]. Jakarta : Dewan Ketahanan Pangan, Departemen Pertanian, dan World Food Organization.
Witoro (2012) ‘Membangun Kedaulatan Pangan melalui Sistem Pangan Komunitas’ [Building Food Security through Community Food System] Paper presented at the Hari Pangan Sedunia (World Food Day), Bogor.