Jakarta - Climate change and "extreme" weather conditions are likely to cripple the food industry in Indonesia. This danger has been confirmed by the Minister for National Development Planning, who speaks of serious "threat" to the nation's food supply. The chilly pepper has reached exorbitant prices, the cost of fruit and vegetables increases continuously, even the quantity of fish has fallen while rice production is not sufficient to meet the needs of the population.
The alarm bell has been triggered by the soaring price of chilly peppers, a staple of the Indonesian diet, from simple aperitif to part of the main meal. Peaking at 120%, the price of one kg now costs more than 100 thousand rupees (about nine dollars). The phenomenon could soon affect the entire fruit and vegetables sector, because of the general decline in harvests, heavy rains or droughts. The crisis is also affecting the fishing industry, with millions of fishermen grounded due to bad weather and high seas, with waves more than four meters high. In Tuban, in the most popular area for fishing in the province of East Java, high tides have destroyed dozens of boats.
The food crisis in Indonesia is further certified by the lack of rice, the prices of which has risen to the point of forcing families to eat twice a day instead of the traditional three. In 1984, the policies of President Suharto led the country to achieve self-sufficiency in production. Today, the annual consumption is more than 33 million tons, but domestic production is not enough. The National Logistics Agency (Bulog) confirmed 820 thousand tons of rice imports from Thailand, a volume four times greater than the estimated quota.
Minister for National and Development Planning, Armida S. Alisjahbana, states that the extreme events in climate change have become a serious "threat" to national food security in 2011. Economists and experts in the food industry have urged the government to a greater commitment to research in new technologies and increasing crops, so far limited to Java.