“Chicken died in the rice barn”, said an Indonesian old proverb, a metaphor that precisely appropriate to describe the present food situation of the country. Another popular metaphor about this tropical islands where is “a wooden stick even growing to be a fruitful plant” will remain as an empty slogan. In fact, cases of food shortage and malnutrition still continously happening in various part of the country. In the recent years, Indonesia already importing not only rice and corns but also tubers and even simple foodstuffs such as onions, garlics, chillies, and salt! (see also: ‘Demistifying Food Issues“).
Ironically, almost of government officials, politicians and intellectuals in this country have no serious attention on this very crucial problem. Food issues is never been put as main political agenda in public fora, both at national and local levels. There is still dominant assumption that food issues is primarily concern of agricultural engineers and experts only. In fact, food issues is not solely a problem of boosting production but also about distribution system and consumption patterns that, obviously, are political economic problems.
Based on that fact, INSIST network, since 1999, have decided to put priority on food issues. After a long discussion, research and empirical experiences from the field, INSIST have asked one of its member based in Bali, Hira Jhamtani –an enviromental activist and meticulous observer on trade policies– to write a concept paper. The document, then, developed into a more elaborated policy paper and published as a book. Here is the excerpt of its Section Four containing the core ideas and policy recommendations towards a community based food security system in Indonesia.***
•Title: Putting Food First: towards a community-based food security system in Indonesia •Author: Hira Jhamtani •Editor: Roem Topatimasang •Publisher: INSISTPress •ISBN: 979-3457-87-2 •Text Language: English •Edition: I, January 2008 •Collation: paperback; 18x25cm; 101 page.