JAKARTA. It is predicted that Indonesia will home to 300 million people 15 years from now. The high number of population would prove to be a threat to food sustainability.
Agus Budiawan Naro Putra, the Head of Food Science and Nutrition Department, Indonesia International Institute for Life Sciences (i3L), explained that food insecurity in Indonesia is still prominent due to the country’s geographic and demographic conditions which are different from one place to another. On top of that, Indonesia is prone to natural disasters due to its ever-changing climate, unpredicted rainfall and pest problems which can cause transient food insecurity.
“Food availability, access to food and food management are both indicators and risk factors which could result in food insecurity,” explained Agus in his official statement.
Therefore, there are three main solutions to solve food problems in Indonesia: distribution, diversification and increased production.
Distribution is the first key to solving food problems. Today, one out of six people is obsessed as they are able to consume food excessively. On the other hand, one of six people also suffers from starvation as a result of the lack of consumption of healthy food.
A more even food distribution could help solve the food problems. Countries with excessive supply of food can distribute a portion of it (both through selling it or distributing it for free) to countries who need it.
“A good distribution system can minimize the damage to food which occurs during its transportation from producers to consumers,” Agus added.
Diversification is another solution to food problems. An example of food diversification is through consuming seafood which is the product of fishing and cultivation as the main source of protein.
“We could also promote the consumption of carbohydrates that are not rice such as cassava, corn, sweet potato, cocoyam, and many others,” Agus continued.
Another solution to food problems is increased food production. There are many ways to increase food production such as the implementation of biotechnology (especially genetic engineering) and through considering the many factors involved in the process of food production (e.g. socio-political conditions of the locals, ecology, etc.).
Agus then explained that food science should take a more central role in helping Indonesia with its food security problems. As part of the 7th agenda of Nawacita, food science needs to be involved in improving the country’s economic independence through mobilizing strategic sectors of Indonesia’s economy.
Specifically, food science (along with nutrition science and food technology) should help with improving food sustainability and independence, especially in regards to strengthening the quality of food consumption and nutrition of the people.
“In the end, everything comes down to the improvement of health and well-being of the Indonesian people,” said Agus.