A new tool in the “war on hunger” in Indonesia was unveiled today by the Ministry of Agriculture’s National Food Security Council and WFP.
Jointly developed over the last two years by the two agencies, “A Food Insecurity Atlas of Indonesia”, is a 135-page compilation of colour-coded maps and indicator charts that provides the first comprehensive analysis of all the many dimensions of food insecurity in Indonesia.
The atlas, in carefully calibrated shades of red and green, highlights regions suffering chronic food insecurity, identifies the underlying reasons for the affliction and offers guidance on strategies to help resolve, or at least mitigate, the problems.
It uses varying shades of red to pinpoint 100 district-level, priority “hotspots” that require urgent attention, highlighting the factors which cause food insecurity in each location. Among the major hotspots depicted in the Atlas are districts in central and southern Sumatra, eastern Java, NTB, NTT, central and South Central Sulawesi, parts of North Maluku, Maluku and Papua.
“I am confident this Food Insecurity Atlas will improve the handling of hunger in Indonesia,” said Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono as he presided over ceremonies launching the atlas at the Ministry’s auditorium in Jakarta. “It is going to serve as an important reference in formulating the right kind of interventions.”
Mohamed Saleheen, WFP Country Director for Indonesia, echoed that view, describing the new atlas as an “extraordinary publication” that will prove to be an “effective tool in developing appropriate strategies for the programming of resources towards a hunger-free and food-secure Indonesia. It touches the lives and livelihoods of millions of suffering people,” Saleheen said.
Both the Minister and the UN official also pointed to one of the most important side benefits flowing from the two years of collaborative effort that went into the compilation of the atlas: the creation of a “critical mass” of more than one hundred Indonesian field level officials now fully aware of all the factors leading to food insecurity, acquired through intensive capacity building.
“It is a complicated, multi-faceted phenomenon,” said Saleheen. “Food security involves much more than just the sufficient production and widespread availability of food. It must be people centered”.
The new atlas uses 10 separate indicators to gauge chronic food insecurity in 265 districts in 30 provinces of Indonesia. It measures food production and availability in the various districts, in addition to data on poverty levels, life expectancy, female illiteracy, infant mortality, underweight children and access to clean water, electricity and health services.
Transient food insecurity is also highlighted since Indonesia is susceptible to many natural calamities, ranging from flood, fire and drought to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and the occasional tsunami.
All of these factors are portrayed in a series of maps and overlays, which, when viewed together, can provide at a glance the underlying reasons for the food insecurity of an individual district.
The new atlas is likely to prove particularly useful in allocating scarce resources since it not only identifies priority areas but also isolates specific causes and possible remedies, thereby allowing the authorities to more accurately target interventions.
The idea of a food security atlas was first pioneered in India, where it has proven to be a popular and effective tool in the battle against hunger.
In Indonesia, it began with a pilot project in East Java and NTB, established in 2003.
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