The Looming Food Security Crisis in Indonesia

As Indonesia navigated through the tumultuous climate patterns of 2023, the threat to food security emerged as a grave concern.

The extreme changes in climate across the archipelago, primarily driven by the El Niño phenomenon, have cast a shadow over the nation’s food production capabilities.

Throughout the year, Indonesia grappled with uncharacteristically high temperatures during its dry season. The Indonesian Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) reported that 2023 was a year of record-breaking heat.

BMKG’s head, Dwikorita, noted in a CNBC Indonesia report (2023) that “July 2023 was notably the hottest month, with heatwaves in Western America reaching as high as 53 degrees Celsius.”

Such extreme weather events signal a disturbing trend that has escalated over the years, and yet has not provoked a sense of crisis.

Should El Niño continue this year, the agricultural sector, the backbone of Indonesia’s food supply, would face severe challenges due to prolonged dry spell.

In areas like West Java, known for their extensive agricultural fields, El Niño brought about a high risk of crop failure.

The BMKG urged the Ministry of Agriculture to initiate measures like rainwater harvesting and efficient water management to combat the potential agricultural setbacks. But, is this enough?

The 2019-2020 El Niño event led to extreme weather conditions like droughts and floods, affecting agricultural productivity worldwide.

In Southeast Asia, countries like Thailand and Vietnam experienced reduced rice yields due to drought, impacting global rice markets (FAO, 2020). Similarly, in East Africa, El Niño-induced irregular rains led to poor harvests, exacerbating food insecurity in the region (UN OCHA, 2020).

Said examples highlight El Niño’s role in disrupting agricultural production, leading to fluctuations in global food availability and prices.

The year 2023 is a vivid warning sign for Indonesia, emphasizing the urgent need for strategic planning and proactive measures to safeguard the nation’s food security against the backdrop of an ever-changing climate landscape.

The emerging scenario demands a concerted effort to adapt to these challenges, ensuring that the country’s food supply remains robust in the face of environmental adversity.

Sources: “7 Daerah RI Terancam Panas Kering Mendidih Menurut BMKG,” CNBC Indonesia, 2023.” ( The FAO’s 2020 report ( UN OCHA’s 2020 report on East Africa (



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