The government responds to warnings from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations that the pandemic may disrupt food distribution and availability.Watch FAO's warning
However, the locations of the food estate sites are still unclear.
The food estate sites are expected to be situated on the 1 million hectares (2.47 million acres) of land opened for the One Million Hectare Rice Project in Central Kalimantan. On the site, 64% or 883,000 hectares (2.18 million acres) has been designated as peatland conservation land, meaning it may not be developed for agriculture; the essential function of the land is water management to prevent peat fires. Peatland use must adhere to sustainable principles in order to avert environmental and social harm.
The government has not been transparent in designating the locations for the food estate, meaning that the effect on the environment and on people cannot be assessed.
The government is rushing ahead with the food estate program without planning it properly.
Changing land use on a massive scale, particularly on peatland, requires comprehensive environmental, economic and social studies involving the community.
The government is covering its eyes and closing its ears. The program continues. The public must remain vigilant and critical.
Continue to observe the implementation of the food estate program regularly.Get the latest updates
What is the status of Indonesia’s food security?
Food security is assessed based on how successfully a government can fulfill the food needs of its citizens. The assessment of food security is based on the Global Food Security Index (GFSI), which consists of 4 aspects: affordability, availability, quality, and safety, as well as natural resources and resilience.
The Indonesian food security index experienced an increasing trend from 2016 to 2019; however, it decreased in 2020. This decrease is due to the low value of several indicators, namely: affordability, quality and food safety, natural resources, and resilience.
Indonesia’s food self-sufficiency is above the global average.
On the other hand, although the Indonesian food security index decreased in 2020, its food availability index increased. One of the contributing factors was the food supply, which was 72, above the world average in 2020, and grew from 2019 as well.
The State Logistics Agency is optimistic that food will remain secure through the 2020 Covid-19 crisis.
State Logistics Agency chairman, Budi Waseso, reassures the Indonesian public that they need not worry about security of food, particularly rice. By taking into account stock levels, consumption and production, he is optimistic that food security can be sustained for the length of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Is it appropriate to farm on peatland?
Converting peatland to agricultural land usually involves creating canals to remove the water from the peat. In addition to requiring enormous amounts of energy and funds, draining peat results in land that is prone to burning, releases carbon emissions and may also expose polluting pyrite sediments.
Exposed pyrite causes soil to become very acidic (pH <3.5) and makes it difficult to cultivate. Pyrite may also dissolve and pollute water, as occurred during the construction of a canal—187 kilometer (115.94 miles) in length—under the One Million Hectare Rice Project of 1995. Pollution from this project caused mass fish deaths in the Mangkatip River and in tributaries of the Barito.
Rice yields on peatland are much lower than on mineral soils.
In addition, converting peatland is difficult: it takes time, money and energy.
To this day, no food estate program on peatland has been successful.
Rice yields on peatland
Rice yields on mineral soil
Why is rice productivity lower on peatland?
Low macronutrient and micronutrient content
Minimal use of farming technology
Will the food estate failures on peatland be repeated?
Will the food estate failures on peatland be repeated?
One Million Hectare Rice Project
1.45 million Ha
Will the food estate failures on peatland be repeated?
Ketapang Food Estate
Will the food estate failures on peatland be repeated?
Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE)
1.2 million Ha
In the past, converting land to food estate caused massive loss of forest and peat cover.
Peatland is often mistaken for idle land. In fact, peatland plays a significant role in supporting the community and biodiversity. Damaged peatland cannot easily be restored back to its original condition.
The satellite images below shows that, as the years pass, there are increasing numbers of significant land cover changes in the former One Million Hectare Rice Project area.
The former One Million Hectare Rice Project area experiences significant changes in land cover every year, harming the peatland ecosystem.
To this day, fires still occur during the dry season in the former One Million Hectare Rice Project area.
Instead of boosting Indonesia's food reserves, the 1995 One Million Hectare Rice Project left behind it damaged peatland that experiences fires every dry season.
It is feared that the reopening of the same area will cause increasingly severe fires.
- Burned more than 3x
- Burned more than 2x
- Burned more than 1x
- Only burned once
- Former One Million Hectare
Indonesia has also suffered significant financial losses due to the failures of the food estate programs.
The 1995 One Million Hectare Rice Project had a budget of close to 7 trillion rupiah, but ended in failure. The project stalled and resulted in serious economic losses and conflicts with the local community.
Total state losses from 1995 to April 1999
Rehabilitation budget allocation* which was not used * Based on information from the Master Plan for the Rehabilitation and Revitalization of the Former One Million Hectare Rice Project.
The Ketapang Food Estate is an example of a project that failed due to a lack of labor.
Each hectare of rice field requires 40 to 80 people to plant the crop and 200 to 250 people to harvest it. However, the Ketapang Food Estate project failed to hire sufficient labor.
Land tenants are also not given assistance or training to help them manage peatland in a sustainable manner.
This problem is exacerbated by the lack of clarity on compensation for failing rice fields, which results in transmigrants having to scavenge for earnings as casual workers.
They (transmigrant workers) complain that they cannot expect much from the two hectares of land allocated to them … because of the soil being peat; it can only be planted with pineapples and tree crops.Laksmi & Khidir, 2015. Large-Scale Food Farms in Ketapang: Dreams of Production Surplus
Social conflicts culminate in rampant oppression of communities during the implementation of food estate programs.
The Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate project in Papua Province oppressed communities; companies confiscated community land in the guise of creating a solution to the global food and energy crisis.
These lands have become monoculture plantations for crops such as palm oil and acacia, while the communities have lost forests and sago plantations, which provided them with food.
Let’s monitor its implementation!
Monitor Food Estate Implementation
This page with the latest news is curated and updated frequently by Pantau Gambut.
The national strategic program for food storage in Central Kalimantan has crashed various legal and ecological studies.Read article
Rice cultivation in the Central Kalimantan food estate part, to be precise on Pulang Pisau, has reached 25 hectares.Read article
The food estate development in Ex-PLG Central Kalimantan, covering an area of 137,000 from a total of 165,000 hectares, will be completed in 2021.Read article
The government has launched a rice import policy of 1 ton during the main harvest to secure domestic rice supplies in the midst of a pandemic.Read article
The Food Estate in Dadahup District was flooded because it was in a tidal area. Besides, 88.5 ha of land, which was projected to become a food barn in Tahai Jaya Village, was damaged.Read article
This year, a land intensification of +/- 40 thousand hectares will be carried out by revitalizing existing paddy fields, especially for irrigation infrastructure and cultivation patterns. For new paddy field extensions, it is targeted to reach 22 thousand hectares. The total land expansion is 62 thousand ha.Read article
Due to the acceleration of crop-planting pattern that is recommended by the government, about 90% of farmers in Belanti were in huge loss.Read article
Head of Horticulture and Agriculture Department of Central Kalimantan denied the fact that the yields were a failure, which he then elaborated it as the productivity drop due to strong winds and heavy rain.Read article
200-250 hectares croplands were harvested and produced various results. Partially, farmers harvested the green crops which are not ready to be harvested yet due to strong winds that cause destruction to the plants.Read article
Central Kalimantan’s food barn is in threat of crop failure and does not meet the expectation of many farmers due to many factors influenced such as the acceleration of planting stage and rice seeds which do not meet the land suitability.Read article
President Joko Widodo requested the local governments to accelerate the food estate program establishment which is targeted to finish on 2021. In addition to the request, he asked local state chiefs to expedite the food estate permit issues.Read article
The Central Kalimantan Provincial Government holds a meeting of the Environmental Impact Assessment Commission to discuss food estate activities.Read article
The Ministry of Agriculture is optimistic that the preparation of the initial 30,000 hectares (74,100 acres) will be completed on time in December 2020 and that planting can take place early in 2021.Read article
The deputy for regional development and spatial planning within the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs says 90,000 hectares (222,300 acres) of land has been cleared for the food estate and food estate masterplan is still being drafted and 60% of the environmental impact assessment has been completed.Read article
The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment confirms the locations of food estates sites in Central Kalimantan and North Sumatra do not cross the boundaries of protected forests or other conservation areas.Read article
The Environment and Forestry Minister says the 165,000 hectares (407,550 acres) of land for the food estate is not peatland and is not located within protected forest.Read article
Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Bakar issues Minister of Environment and Forestry Law No. 24 of 2020, which authorizes the conversion of protected forest to food estate.Read article
The Central Kalimantan Provincial Government holds a public consultation on the preparation of an environmental impact assessment for the rehabilitation and improvement of the swamp irrigation network in the food estate area, which totals 165,000 hectares (407,550 acres).Read article
The Ministry of Public Works and Housing plans to build roads and bridges totaling 111.97 kilometers (69.42 miles) to connect the food estate. The construction will cost 1.129 trillion rupiah ($81 million).Read article
The Minister of Public Works and Housing says construction work for the rehabilitation and improvement of the Block A irrigation network began in September 2020. The project is worth 738.04 billion rupiah and is being carried out by the contractors PT Wijaya Karya, PT Hutama Karya and PT Adipatria.Read article
The Environmental and Forestry Ministerial Regulation No. 24 2020 on the Provision of Forest for Food Estate was signed. One of the main point on this regulation is that protected forest area can be utilized for food estate.Read article
President Joko Widodo plants the first seed on the food estate. Besides rice, food estate sites will also develop other commodities. Within each area of 1,000 hectares on the Central Kalimantan food estate, some will be dedicated to commodities other than rice. If this model is successful, it will be replicated.Read article
The Ministry of Agriculture and the Indonesian army sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation on the food estate program in Central Kalimantan.Read article
The Minister of Defense says the food estate program will continue to grow to an estimated 1.4 million hectares (3.46 million acres) in Central Kalimantan.Read article
The Ministry of Defense is to mobilize Indonesian army engineers to clear and grab land in preparation for cassava plantations in Gunung Mas District, Pulang Pisang District and Kapuas District.Read article
The United Dayak Alliance rallies against using transmigration as a method of sourcing a labor force for the national food estate program in Central Kalimantan. They claim the program sidelines the local communities.Read article
The Ministry of Agriculture commits to providing agricultural equipment and infrastructure worth approximately 379 billion rupiah.Read article
President Joko Widodo allocates 104.2 trillion rupiah to food security for 2021. Some of the money will be used to develop large-scale food estates.Read article
The Ministry of Agriculture says it has prepared 770,600 hectares (1.9 million acres) of land in the former One Million Hectare Rice Project in Central Kalimantan for food estate crops. Rice can be cultivated on three land types: tidal swamps, lowlands and peatland.Read article
The State Logistics Agency prepares to build a warehouse and rice mill at a food estate in Central Kalimantan.Read article
President Joko Widodo and key politicians visit food estate sites at the village of Bentuk Jaya, Kapuas District and in Pulang Pisau District.Read article
President Jokowi states his intention to form an agency to manage the development of food estates. It will work with investment partners, state-owned enterprises and other stakeholders.Read article
The Ministry of Defense is appointed as lead to strengthen the food estate program.Read article
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs says the government will provide a further 6 trillion rupiah for three to four years of the food estate program.Read article
The Minister of Agriculture emphasized that he would not carry out a program to cultivate new rice fields on peatland this year, but will only intervene on mineral swamp lands with a water depth of 1 meter.
* No map of the location has been made available to the public.Read article
An interim report is issued on a strategic environmental impact assessment for the food estate site planned by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.
The development of the food estate program is to be carried out by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing and the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises through an investment scheme.Read article
Developing food estates is recommended as one of the country's 89 strategic projects and named the "Program to Improve Food Supply in Central Kalimantan." This recommendation is legalized in the Revised PSEL Presidential Decree issued by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment.
The Public Works and Public Housing Coordination Meeting finds that 295,500 hectares of blocks A and D on the former One Million Hectare Rice Project site could be developed. Of that, 165,000 hectares already possesses an irrigation system, while 79,500 hectares requires extensification.
* Fields converted
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartanto estimates Indonesia will hold 4.7 million tonnes of rice stocks at the end of 2020, and says rice supply is secure to the end of the year.Read article
Sunarti, head of Central Kalimantan's Food Crops, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry Agency, says 300,000 hectares of land has been prepared for food crops. He adds that if all proposals are approved by the government, the total land available for agriculture in Central Kalimantan will reach 663,287 hectares.Read article
President Joko Widodo orders state-owned enterprises to open 900,000 hectares (2.22 million acres) of new rice fields on the wetlands and peatland of Central Kalimantan, in preparation for a potential food crisis related to the Covid-19 pandemic.Read article
FAO released the statement regarding Covid-19 pandemic and how it could influence the global food chain due to the decrease of labour resources which potentially hamper the food and logistic distribution.Read article
Make your voice heard!
Stop using the pandemic as an excuse to exploit,Wahyu Perdana, Campaign Manager for Food, Water and Essential Ecosystems, Walhi National.