Vice President Ma’ruf Amin has reminded all of the important role played by the family in achieving national food security during the COVID-19 pandemic. “As we Indonesians face the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to maintain food security up from the level of the family as the smallest social unit in society,” he said during the virtual National Seminar on Food Security and Ramadhan 1422 H Devotions, Monday (03/05/2021).
Ma’ruf declared that national food security is an inseparable part of national security, as well as an important factor in the effort to build up the people’s prosperity. “One of the most grievous impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that we all need to concern ourselves with is the scarcity of food, which leads to a global food crisis,” he said. “Food is the most basic human need, one that we need to satisfy every day. Food is essential to the life of any nation. If a country fails to provide sufficient food for its people, it will suffer from economic instability, which in turn will cause social and political unrest. It will ultimately endanger national stability.”
The FAO has issued a simi lar warning. They request that the world’s biggest food producers take steps to secure their own domestic food supply in order to ensure that no citizen will starve, because of insufficient national food stock during a pandemic. Furthermore, the Indonesian Institute of Science (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia – “LIPI”) Economic Research Center survey at the end of 2020 concerning the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to food security of families found that most households (64%) are food secure. The remaining are in vulner able, food-risk categories: Food risk without starvation (28.84%), food risk with moderate starvation (10.14%), and food risk with acute starvation (1.95%). “The Government has created social security net programs for these vulnerable groups, which mostly work in informal sectors, have irregular income, and live in poor households, for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ma’ruf said.
In 2020, the Government allocated IDR 230.21 trillion for social protection, cutting the allotment to IDR 110.2 trillion in 2021. The above LIPI Economic Research Center survey further discovered that food insecurity in a family is not always relevant to poverty, “But it is mostly affected by the family’s knowledge level on food types and nutrition, food consumption behavior and patterns and individual diets,” Ma’ruf said.
FAO and LIPI’s warnings are even more relevant in view of Indonesia’s lowered ranking in the Global Food Security Index. According to the 2020 Global Food Security Index, Indonesia ranks 65 th “most food secure” out of a total of 113 countries, “Down from our position in 2019 in the 62 nd rank,” Ma’ruf said. “It is much lower than that of our neighboring countries, with Singapore being the 20 th most secure, Malaysia the 43rd , Thailand the 51st , and Vietnam the 63rd . This demotion indicates that Indonesia has not satisfied one or more pillars of national food security. It is homework for us all, to work even harder to achieve food security.” (eka)