Indonesia's Food Policy and Women's Rights

By Sastra, Tini | Women & Environments International Magazine, Fall/Winter 2011 | Go to article overview

Indonesia's Food Policy and Women's Rights


Sastra, Tini, Women & Environments International Magazine


Recognizing Women's Roles in Food Production, Distribution, Processing, and Consumption

Despite the implementation of Food Act No.7/1996 in Indonesia fifteen years ago, concerns remain respecting women's food insecurity in regions such as Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Papua and Kupang.

In order to address these concerns, the Women's Solidarity for Human Rights (Solidaritas Perempuan), an Indonesian civil society organization working to promote gender equality, non-violence, nondiscrimination and ecological justice for groups of marginalized women, worked with the Indonesian Human Rights Committee for Social Justice and with the Civil Society Coalition to pressure the goverment to amend the Act so as to ensure that the rights of women to food were protected and accommodated. A draft of the bill to amend the Act is currently being considered by the Indonesian parliament.

Background - Achieving Food Self-Sufficiency

In Indonesia, about half of the population makes a living in the agricultural sector. In the 1980s, during the Suharto era, Indonesia achieved self-sufficiency in rice as part of the Green Revolution which led to the implementation of agricultural intensification such as the use of crop varieties with increased yield, fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation expansion.

However, this self-sufficiency did not last long. By 1995 there were rice shortages.

This was also the year when Indonesia joined the WTO. Three important points in the agreement with the WTO were market access, reduction of domestic subsidies and the reduction of export subsidies. Instead of seeing the rice shortages as an impetus to invest in the increase of food production, by improving farming systems and empowering farmers, the government focused on the shortages as an opportunity to promote rice-importing companies.

This focus on trade liberalization and an increasing number of bilateral free trade agreements with countries in the region led to a fast pace of industrialization in large cities, requiring a lot of labour. As a result of this, many villagers no longer see a bright future working as farmers, and many farming families have migrated to the cities in order to work as factory workers, construction workers, retail workers, and domestic workers.

The Food Act No. 7/1996

The Food Act No. 7/1996 was enacted in November 1996, two months after the World Food Summit held in Rome that same year. The Act came about in response to the food crisis that occurred in Indonesia in 1994. In order to deal with the 1994 crisis, the government imported food (rice) to stabilize domestic food reserves and from 1994 onwards food imports continued to rise reaching a peak in 1999 with annual imports of 4.7 million tons of rice. The government's primary reason for importing rice was to secure food stocks and to stabilize food prices. These policies benefited the import-export companies and were a direct result of Indonesia's entry into the WTO and of the free trade agreements.

The substance of the Act did not address the right to food but supported the food industry. The majority of the provisions in the Act related to technical aspects such as packaging, food safety certification and licensing and did not address the right to food, or the obligations of the government to fulfill protect and respect food security as a right. In addition, the Act did not provide for the protection of the sources of production owned by the people and, therefore, land could be converted for development purposes.

The Act and the Role of Women in the Agricultural Sector Role of Women

In Indonesia, women play an important role in the agricultural sector. Women in families of rice farmers are usually involved in the nursery, caring, harvesting, storage, and marketing of rice. Women in sharecropper families work in planting, weeding, harvesting, and threshing of the rice paddy until it is ready to be stored or milled. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Indonesia's Food Policy and Women's Rights
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.