El Nino Phenomenon May Lead to Global Food Crisis, Indonesia Takes Precautions to Safeguard Rice Stock

Rice, One of the Poverty Contributing Commodities in Indonesia

As the El Nino climate phenomenon looms, concerns arise over its potential to trigger a worldwide food crisis, with Indonesia among the nations at risk. In light of this looming threat, Airlangga Hartarto, the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, has taken action to ensure the nation’s rice stock remains secure.

Prompted by President Joko Widodo’s directive, Airlangga has rallied all relevant ministries to be proactive in addressing the situation and guaranteeing the availability of rice remains steady amidst the looming food crisis challenges.

“We are fortunate to report that according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, as we approach September, our rice overstock stands at an impressive 2.7 million tons,” he stated, as conveyed through his official Instagram account @airlanggahartarto_official on Thursday (3/8/2023).

Despite the positive news, caution remains essential. During a recent limited meeting (ratas) held at the State Palace on Wednesday (2/8/2023), President Jokowi emphasized the need for vigilance concerning the El Nino phenomenon, as it could exacerbate drought conditions and lead to a decline in agricultural productivity.

Collaboration and cooperation between ministries and institutions have been deemed crucial in ensuring the fulfillment of food requirements, particularly for rice, while safeguarding the interests of farmers amid potential El Nino-induced challenges.

Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo echoed Airlangga’s sentiments, expressing confidence in the nation’s rice availability until September 2023. However, he underscored that the El Nino phenomenon’s impact on water scarcity could lead to a reduction in agricultural output.

“As we progress into September, our rice overstock will remain above 2.7 million tons. This translates to consistent monthly harvests of over 800,000 hectares, producing more than 2 million tons of rice every month,” he shared during a press statement at the Presidential Palace complex on Wednesday (2/8/2023).

Addressing the potential implications of the El Nino phenomenon, measures have been put in place in six regions to ensure adequate rice availability. These regions include North Sumatra, South Sumatra, South Sulawesi, and several others on Java Island.

The government remains vigilant and prepared, closely monitoring the development of the El Nino climate phenomenon. As international concerns about food security mount, Indonesia is proactively working to safeguard its rice stock and brace against any potential challenges that may arise during this critical period.