Carrying out agricultural activities in the yard of our own house is considered a smart solution in the Covid-19 era. The reason is that the government has not fully lifted the Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) to reduce the potential for transmission of the virus, but food production and distribution activities must continue in the midst of this pandemic.
Lecturer of Food Technology Indonesia International Institute for Life Sciences (i3L) Rayyane Mazaya Syifa Insani, M.FSc, said that this pandemic had a major impact on food security. Therefore, the government’s recommendation to work, study, and worship at home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is ideally used by the community to farm in their yards. By farming in the yard, the quality of life increases, as well as the food supply, can be fulfilled by itself.
“This pandemic has caused disruptions to the global logistics system which has an impact on food access issues. In Indonesia itself, as well as other countries that have a similar economic level or below Indonesia, the problems of food access that arise are generally influenced by people’s inadequate income, even just to buy food. staple food. Many people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, contributing to the decline in food security so that people have to depend on food assistance from the government,” said Rayyane in Her official statement.
Several world organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the United Nations (UN) said the COVID-19 pandemic could create a new food crisis that would affect a country’s food security, especially poor and developing countries.
The National Strategic Food Price Information Center (PIHPS) also released data on the increase in food prices that depend on imports, for example, sugar, which indicated an increase in prices as of February 2020 but has declined again as of June 2020. Price increases have also occurred in shallots and onions but currently have decreased again.
Besides that, this pandemic also has an impact on the lives of farmers in Indonesia.
According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), in May 2020 there was a decline in the Farmer’s Exchange Rate (NTP) of 0.85% where NTP is an indicator to measure Farmer’s purchasing power level in rural areas, also showing the exchangeability of agricultural products with goods and services consumed as well as for production cost.
Rayyane said that the community can help maintain a balance between demand and supply of food by not panic buying. Especially for foodstuffs with a short shelf life (perishable). Given the short shelf life, hoarding these foodstuffs for too long will actually have another impact on the environment, namely increasing waste from food that cannot be consumed because its shelf life has passed.
“Synergy among communities is also very crucial during this pandemic. The number of social activities initiated by the community to provide food assistance to other communities in need can greatly help to maintain the balance of the demand and supply system for food security,” She added.
To maintain food security during this pandemic, i3L Food Science and Nutrition Lecturer, Widya Indriani revealed that the public needs to first understand the definition of food security.
According to the World Food Summit (1996), food security occurs when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to meet their needs and preferences for sufficient safe and nutritious food for a healthy and active life. This can be identified from four indicators, namely physical availability of food, economic and physical access to food (economic and physical availability), food utilization, and the stability of the three indicators.
When viewed from these indicators, to maintain food security, it is not enough to only focus on the community or the government. There needs to be synergies and efforts starting at the individual, household, community, private sector (company), and government levels as policymakers,” said Widya in an official statement.
In this case, Indonesia can adopt New Zealand’s agricultural system, especially for local commodities which are claimed to be successful in maintaining the country’s food security. These include providing incentives for farmers to increase food production and utilizing village funds through labor-intensive programs, as well as intensifying the movement of buying local farmers’ food products.
The relocation of the APBD can also be carried out to mitigate the risk of decreasing food security. In addition, the use of yard soil and urban farming strategies that are currently is booming in the community since they have to stay at home need to be intensified again because they can be one of the family’s independent food solutions. For example, by cultivating vegetables with a short harvest period such as red spinach and kale which can be harvested within three weeks.