The Food Estate Program,
In response to the threat of food shortages related to drought and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, President Joko Widodo launched the food estate program, a new strategic program for Indonesia. The food estate program includes developing hundreds of thousands of hectares of new rice fields, which can damage peatland and protected forests.
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.
Field story: The Food Estate Project, which farmers began to abandon because it did not live up to expectationsRead article
House of Representatives Commission IV will form a special committee to oversee the food estate program due to suspected fake data of productionRead article
CIPS Researcher: Food Estate Program developed in forest and peatland areas that exacerbates the climate crisis and causes a loss of 427.2 tonnes of carbon per hectare of converted peatlandRead article
Denying the food estate failed, the Chief of Staff blamed the uncertain natural conditionsRead article
Various food estate problems experienced by farmers in Humbang HasundutanRead article
The threat of a food crisis must be overcome by developing diversity, not a food estate programRead article
Food Estate Project Threat, Repeating Past Failures?Read article
If Indonesia's food storage project fails, who is responsible for restoring the forest?Read article
A land area of 2,500 hectares (Ha) is prepared for a food estate with the reason for supporting the new capital IndonesiaRead article
Professor and Head of the Biotechnology Center of IPB Dwi Andreas Santosa assessed that the Food Estate failed because it violated the 4 pillars of large-scale agricultural land developmentRead article
The progress of Food Estate is slow, Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing complains about the lack of people to work on the landRead article
Director General of Agricultural Infrastructure and Facilities (PSP) of the Ministry of Agriculture acknowledged that there was the use of heavy equipment for stalled food estate projects. Currently, the condition of the heavy equipment is abandoned and unusedRead article
False promise of welfare from food estate projectRead article
Food Estate Feeding Climate CrisisRead article
Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI) said that the import of GMOs favored the control of giant corporations over the availability of seeds/seedlings in the country, so that farmers would depend on and buy from these corporations.Read article
According to BPS records, the harvested area during January-September 2021 in Central Kalimantan reached 115,848 hectares (ha), in fact the realization in 2022 in the same period actually decreased to 88.064 ha.Read article
The extensification of the Food Estate in Mulyasari Village, Pandih Batu District, Pulang Pisau Regency, covering an area of 103.66 hectares has been neglected due to water management problems that prevent rice from growing.Read article
SPI criticizes the food estate policy to address food problems. Governments should avoid approaches that rely on markets and private power. This can create new issues, namely agrarian conflicts and farmers' dependence on corporations, such as seeds, and fertilizers, to marketing.Read article
The area of food estate in Central Kalimantan continues to grow, both for intensification land and new paddy fields. However, the government has difficulty finding tenants or workersRead article
The Ministry of Agriculture has prepared a budget of IDR 2.3 trillion in 2023 for Food Estate and strengthening food production center areasRead article
Food Estate Project Continues although Indonesia is Self-Sufficient in RiceRead article
Entering the Food Estate Program, Farmers in Bentuk Jaya Village Complain Due to Floods Can't Plant.Read article
BRGM on Food Estate in Peatland: Expensive Cost but Small Margin.Read article
Moeldoko Admits that Something's not Right on Jokowi's Food EstateRead article
Worried about the Ambition of a New Food Estate area: A Cover for Land- and Budget-Hungry Infrastructure DevelopmentRead article
Messy Food Estate Project AmbitionRead article
Funds Lost in Food Support Infrastructure.Read article
Making New Rice Fields is a Waste of Budget.Read article
The results of satellite image verification by Pantau Gambut found patterned land clearing in areas of dense vegetation and peat areasRead article
Minister of Agriculture Claims 100 Percent Success of Food Estate, Walhi: Stop Ignoring Farmers and the Environment.Read article
Questioning the Minister of Agriculture's Claims on the Success of the Food EstateRead article
Realization of Food Estate in Bulungan Regency Has Not Been Achieved Perfectly.Read article
KPA Reveals 6 Food Estate Policy Problems.Read article
Food Estate project development needs to be re-evaluated.Read article
Professor of the IPB University, Dwi Andreas Santosa predicts the food estate program will fail.Read article
Temanggung prepares 339 hectares of "food estate" land.Read article
The food estate program in the Gunung Mas area, Central Kalimantan is considered to have caused the forest in the surrounding area to be damaged.Read article
Pantau Gambut assesses that Indonesia's food problem is not about production but the unequal distribution of food.Read article
Greenpeace: 700 Hectare Food Estate Project in Central Kalimantan Triggers Floods.Read article
The Palangkaraya Legal Aid Institute (LBH) said that deforestation carried out to support a cassava food estate project in Gunung Mas Regency, Central Kalimantan, has the potential to expand flood areas.Read article
Central Kalimantan Governor Optimistic Food Estate can reduce Indonesia's food imports.Read article
The food estate area in Humbangan Hasundutan, North Sumatra, has taken over customary land.Read article
Food estate in Pulang Pisau Regency is expanded by 3,000 ha to increase crop yields.Read article
The Ministry of National Development Planning (PPN)/Bappenas conducts mastering or updating plans for the development of food storage locations in Central Kalimantan.Read article
Central Kalimantan Develops West Zone Food Estate, namely in Katingan, Seruyan and East Kotawaringin (Kotim) Regencies with an area of 1000 hectares each.Read article
PLN supports the Food Estate program in Pulang Pisau and Kuala Kapuas districts, Central Kalimantan by building a number of electrical infrastructure to illuminate an area of 20 thousand hectares (Ha)Read article
The government's recommendation to speed up planting time from 2 times per year to 3 times per year makes almost 90% of farmers not get optimal yields.Read article
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment targets 1000 hectares of Food Estate North Sumatra to be completed by the end of the year.Read article
The Ministry of Agriculture said that the Food Estate program in Central Kalimantan and several other regions is an effort to synergize across ministries in responding quickly to the Covid-19 pandemic to maintain food security.Read article
The government continues to boost food estate development in four regions, namely Central Kalimantan, South Sumatra, North Sumatra, and East Nusa Tenggara.Read article
The development of the Food Estate project in Humbang Hasundutan Regency, North Sumatra continues. Infrastructure development will be carried out in stages starting from 2020-2023 covering the Water Resources Sector with a total budget of IDR 406.9 billion and connectivity of IDR 619.1 billion.Read article
The development of the Food Estate project continues to Java Island.Read article
Members of the DPR RI Budget Board asked that the realization of the food estate budget should not overlap. It will potentially result in the double budgets that might appear in several ministries involved.Read article
Pantau Gambut and WALHI Central Kalimantan issued study reports and field investigations, and analyses of food estate projects in the context of national food politics related to food politics and global political economy policies.Read article
Commission IV of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia rejected the plan to submit a budget of 1,1 billion Rupiah from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) in 2022 for the national food barn or food estate program.Read article
Residents of four villages in Kab. Gunung Mas, Central Kalimantan, refused to clear the 2,000 ha land included in the Ministry of Defense's cassava plantation trial area. In addition to the residents' plantation, several residents' houses have even been certified.Read article
The provincial government of South Kalimantan is offering 10.000 ha of agricultural land in the peat swamp ecosystems to the central government to be used as a food estate. Meanwhile, the East Kalimantan Provincial Government is also preparing a land area of 2,654 ha to develop a food estate.Read article
Commission IV of the DPR RI questioned the presence and contribution of Perum Bulog in the food estate project launched by the government in some regions. The project is considered not to have contributed to national food security.Read article
The study results by the Yayasan Madani Berkelanjutan show that the Government provides a number of regulatory privileges to facilitate the realization of large-scale food projects in four provinces called food estates.Read article
Save Our Borneo field observations at Tewai Baru Village found that 600 ha of land cleared for cassava plant development was included in the production forest area and had perfect cover, with wood diameters reaching 40 cm and above. It was replaced with cassava plants.Read article
Central Kalimantan Provincial Government Ensures Peat Land in the Ex-PLG Area Will Not Be Used for Food EstateRead article
Walhi Central Kalimantan, together with Pantau Gambut, called for saving the environment in Central Kalimantan from the potential damage caused by the Food Estate program.Read article
The Governor of Central Kalimantan, Sugianto Sabran, said that the total planted rice plants reached 29,032.5 ha, 98.8% of the total target of 30,000 ha, and 15,862 ha or 52.9% had been harvested.Read article
"Mr. President, give me special directions, so that the food estate in an area of 160,000 hectares must be implemented." said Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar PandjaitanRead article
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!
The protection of forests and peatland must be voiced out and loud. However, this will not happen without your help.
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Stop using the pandemic as an excuse to exploit,Wahyu Perdana, Campaign Manager for Food, Water and Essential Ecosystems, Walhi National.