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Food self-reliance program in Indonesia focuses on farmer education and empowerment

In East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, a program aimed at food reliance relies heavily on improved production techniques, access, and support groups for community development.

The Strategic Foresight Group writes,

“The Desa Mandiri Pangan (Village Food Self-Reliance) programme was started by the National Agency for Food Security. The program, aimed at increasing awareness about the importance of self-sufficiency and to alleviate poverty, will be carried out in every village in the province over four years in several stages. A number of smaller programs will be introduced to support the Village Food Reliance program, including a community empowerment program, infrastructure development and a food self-sufficiency system. Farmers will also be equipped with knowledge, from land preparation to post-harvest, especially in dry farming – to improve production.

East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) is one of the poorest and the driest of Indonesia’s provinces. Since 2005, it has also been classified as one of the most food insecure provinces in Indonesia. Around 89% of its province’s population is engaged in farming, fishing or livestock-raising. Nearly a quarter of the population (23% as of last year) is classified as below the poverty line and it may rise in the next few years.

Implications

Strategic Foresight Group explains that food insecurity is a major challenges in East Nusa Tenggara. Over 1.6 million in NTT are vulnerable to food shortage due to drought, irregular rainfall, or crop failure, which could get much worse as weather patterns become more erratic. The Village Food Self-Reiliance Program would provide farmers with knowledge and techniques to deal with frequent El Nino phenomena. Increased food security, improved infrastructure, and community empowerment can also better the economic conditions of farmers.

IFTF notes that this strategy for food self-reliance is markedly different than the hybrid rice programs instituted elsewhere in South-East Asia, and if this alternative approach proves successful, it could encourage more such programs.

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Sources:

Strategic Foresight Group, Dec 2010, page 10
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG_Dec2010.pdf#page=10

Fointuna, Yemris. “NTT aims to free villages from food crisis”. The Jakarta Post. 30 June 2010: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/06/30/ntt-aims-free-villages-food-crisis.html

Fointuna, Yemris. “Food shortage threatens thousands in NTT”. The Jakarta Post. 10 April 2010: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/04/10/food-shortage-threatens-thousands-ntt.html

Fox, JJ. “From Laboratory to Farmers' Fields: Drought in Nusa Tengara Timor, Indonesia”. The International Society for Agricultural Meteorology. 15 June 2010:
http://www.agrometeorology.org/news/news-highlights/from-laboratory-to-farmers

Subejo. “Food security and diversification”. The Jakarta Post. 24 June 2010:
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/06/24/food-security-and-diversification.html

“Proposal: National Decentralised Support Programme for Food Security (NPFS) (2006-2015 covering Phase I: 2006-2009)”. FAO. 20 September 2005: http://www.fao.org/righttofood/inaction/countrylist/Indonesia/Indonesia_NPFS.pdf

Salim, Z.“Food Security Policies in Maritime Southeast Asia: The Case of Indonesia”. Trade Knowledge Network. 2010: http://www.tradeknowledgenetwork.net/pdf/food_security_policies_indonesia.pdf