2nd El Nino Food Security Monitoring Bulletin

27 January 2016 | It is an honor to share with you the latest Indonesia Food Security Monitoring Bulletin focused on the impact of El Nino in Indonesia. It is produced by the Center for Food Availability and Vulnerability of the Ministry of Agriculture, Remote Sensing Application Centre of the Indonesia National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Food Programme.

This second edition is available in English and Bahasa Indonesia at the following link.

The bulletin’s main messages are:

  1. Following a delay in the onset of the monsoon season, rains have started in most of Indonesia. However parts of eastern Indonesia continue to face severe drought. An estimated 3 million Indonesians live below the poverty line in severely drought impacted districts with 1.2 million of these reliant on rainfall for their food production livelihood.
  2. Late onset of rains and subsequent delays in planting have two critical cascading effects: extension of the lean season and increased exposure of the second rice planting to peak dry season which increases the probability of crop damage or failure.
  3. The delay in the rainy season has slowed progress in planting of the main rice crop for 2016, with significant delays in East and Central Java –key rice producing provinces. Ten and seven percent of rice fields in East Java and Central Java are delayed and may miss the critical window for planting, endangering crops.
  4. Delays in the main planting season will extend the lean season with negative impact on vulnerable households. Localized reductions in rice production are expected, raising concerns for large numbers of subsistence farming families in the drought-affected areas.
  5. The extended lean season will stretch resources among poorer households who spend a large share of their limited income on food, with prices likely to rise while the next harvest is postponed. In addition, without efforts to accelerate planting immediately daily agricultural wage laborers will continue to have reduced income opportunities.
  6. Record high prices of rice are expected to weigh heavily on food access and stress the food and livelihood security situation of the most vulnerable populations.
  7. Increased probability of floods in the rainy season may impact food access by disrupting travel networks and presenting hazards including landslides in vulnerable, low socio-economic areas

In response, the Bulletin makes three recommendations:

  1. To help vulnerable households cope with the effect of reduced income coupled with rising food prices, Government of Indonesia should provide cash assistance to poor households dependent on food crop production. Across 38 vulnerable districts, an estimated 1.2 million Indonesians require assistance. Coordination between multiple government agencies, including Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Social Affairs and the National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction is required to refine targeting and identify target households.
  2. Delays in planting may have significant effects at national and household level, impacting total production as well as limiting income for farmers. To accelerate planting, particularly in East and Central Java where delays are significant, the Ministry of Agriculture should work directly with farmers and distribute seeds, fertilizer, irrigation, and information aimed at increasing the rate of planting. Improved implementation of the existing Special Program for Acceleration of Rice, Maize, and Soybean Self-Sufficiency (UPSUS) is one means to accelerate planting. The Ministry should monitor current crop conditions and prepare for a delayed harvest. Plans for delayed second season planting should be made to prevent exposing crops to the peak dry season.
  3. With dried lands and high levels precipitation expected for much of Indonesia in the coming months, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) must increase its efforts to monitor flood risks.