Indonesia is a lower-middle income country and the largest economy in Southeast Asia. Rapid economic growth over the past ten years, coupled with significant government investments in social development, transformed the lives of millions of people and allowed the country to meet its Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of undernourished people by 2015.
However, the benefits of economic growth are not shared equally by all in the country. Poverty is concentrated in rural areas, where 14.3 percent of the population live below the poverty line.
Access to food is also uneven, and influenced by factors like poverty and lack of infrastructure. High food prices – with rice being 50 to 70 percent more expensive than in neighbouring countries – compound the situation. As a result, 19.4 million people are unable to meet their dietary requirements.
Poorly varied diets, based mainly on rice, mean that the country is faced with three simultaneous nutrition-related challenges. More than 37 percent of children under 5 suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition, with higher prevalence among families reliant on subsistence farming or living in slums. Almost one quarter of women of reproductive age are anaemic, and an increasing number of people over the age of 15 are overweight or obese.
The food security of families and communities is frequently threatened by frequent natural disasters. Since the 2004 tsunami, Indonesia has experienced an average of one major disaster every month, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and climate related events like floods, droughts, and landslides. The country’s size and geography pose significant logistical and operational challenges to emergency response.
Strengthening the Government’s preparedness to respond to natural disasters and enhancing its social programmes with a stronger nutrition focus are the heart of the World Food Programme (WFP)’s work in Indonesia.
Working closely with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), WFP provides policy advice to support the Indonesian Government in its efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and its own target of reducing the number of severely food insecure people by 9 million by 2020.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Indonesia
WFP supports the Indonesian Government in improving its food security early warning and monitoring systems, enabling policy-makers to base their decisions on up-to-date evidence and enhanced analysis.
To combat high rates of stunting and the increasing prevalence of obesity, WFP promotes balanced diets – with an increased intake of fresh foods – through communication campaigns tailored to specific demographic groups and regions.
After running a successful pilot with meals based on locally-sourced food and designed to address iron and vitamin deficiencies, WFP is supporting the Government in strengthening its own school meals programme. WFP provides technical advice in areas including improving the nutritional value of the meals, prioritizing locations on the basis of updated food security and nutrition analysis, and ensuring sustainability of the programme.
The Government spends 0.6 percent of GDP on its social protections programmes to reduce poverty. WFP has been asked to help the Government ensure that investment also results in better nutrition for its poorest people through better targeting and supply chains.
To reduce disaster risk and increase resilience, the Government of Indonesia plans to establish a network of six humanitarian hubs – one on each major island – to reach affected people more quickly and efficiently. WFP is assisting with the design and location of the hubs and providing advice on issues including warehouse management, mobile storage, operational capacities and transport.