COVID-19 Impacts on Food Security in Indonesia
The COVID-19 pandemic brings significant changes to healthcare, economics, and other essential sectors worldwide. Besides creating a global health crisis, social distancing and pandemic mitigation efforts disrupt the international trading system. Food security is becoming a widely discussed topic due to governments closing ports and holding food distributions across countries.
International Air Transport Association reported that international cargo transportation's quality was reduced to 23% in March 2020 and estimated the loss reaching 1.6 Million USD. A number of countries began limiting their food exports to other countries in order to meet their domestic food needs. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and other international development organizations also stated that the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to new food crises affecting a country's food security, especially poor and developing countries.
In Indonesia, food security became a pressing issue as it is a basic need and food supply issues should be addressed immediately. Food security fundamentally indicates the availability of supply and access to a food source to fulfill basic needs. The pandemic has resulted in poor access to the food supply and food producers are starting to experience changes in the supply chain. Indonesia is experiencing a shortage of other food commodities such as garlic, beef, and sugar. In 2018, 95% of Indonesia's garlic supply, 24% of beef supply, and 55% of sugar supply came from abroad. As COVID-19 spreads, the supply chain is experiencing significant disruption due to a reduction in processing capacity, closure of roads and ports, and limited transportation, which slows down agricultural production and food distribution from producers to consumers.
Indonesian governments must take strategic steps in reducing the impacts of disrupted international trading as well as preventing a health crisis that is slowly developing into a food crisis. Ministry of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, stated that there are four top priorities concerning the situation which are: increase of production, diversification of local food, increase the strength of food supply as well as the logistic system, and developing modern agriculture. Every sector should be working in unison to overcome the multiple issues that surfaced because of the pandemic. New ways, innovation, and ideas are needed to support decision-makers in designing the relevant system to solve Indonesia's current food insecurity.