Indonesia and Food Self-sufficiency

The fourth article in a special issue on post-reformasi Indonesia has been made available at the publisher’s website. “Indonesia’s Quest for Food Self-sufficiency: A New Agricultural Political Economy?” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2019.1617890) is authored by Natasha Hamilton-Hart of the Department of Management and International Business, University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand.

The special issue will be published as Issue 5 later this year.

The abstract for the article states:

The aspiration to achieve food self-sufficiency has returned to the Indonesian policy agenda in the post-reformasi period. After being side-lined as a policy goal immediately after the transition to democracy, political leaders since 2009 have increasingly cited self-sufficiency to justify policies to raise domestic food production and reduce food imports. These policies are often inefficient and at odds with the goals of food security and decreasing poverty. The self-sufficiency drive is thus often attributed to ‘political’ motives. But what kind of politics is at work in Indonesia’s renewed self-sufficiency drive: a broad-based politics that aims to foster support among smallholder food producers, or an elite politics based on rent-seeking by narrow constituencies? The distributional implications of food self-sufficiency policies in the post-reformasi period suggest that both dynamics are at work. Narrow elite interests have benefited, but smallholder landowners account for a significant share of many agricultural crops. Although smallholder landowners are increasingly differentiated, they constitute a reasonably broad-based constituency. The valorisation of agriculture reflected in the self-sufficiency drive and related rural sector policies may lay the foundations for a more inclusive agricultural political economy.

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