Description & Progress
The overall purpose of this research project is to document poor people’s experiences in facing food price volatility, in a form that enables common, policy-relevant insights into how food price volatility plays out in developing countries.
As a continuation of the qualitative assessment of the impact of global crises (fuel, food, and financial), conducted from 2008 to 2010 (part of a five-country study coordinated by IDS), SMERU is participating in a four-year study supported by Oxfam GB and IDS under the title Ensuring Food and Nutrition Security in a Time of Volatility. The overall purpose of this research project is to document poor people’s experiences in facing food price volatility, in a form that enables common, policy-relevant insights into how food price volatility plays out in developing countries.
The research activity in Indonesia aims to contribute to the improvement of food security prospects for poor and vulnerable people in the country by providing an understanding of how their lives are affected by the volatile prices of food commodities and other basic necessities.
Methodology and Data
This four-year qualitative study was conducted in three villages located in Kabupaten Bekasi, Cianjur, and Banjar, which were visited every year over a three-year period (2012, 2013 and 2014). During the final phase of the study in 2015-2016, the research team underwent an intensive output writing process and held dissemination events, which consisted of final information sharing and thank you visits to community and district level stakeholders in the three research locations. They also held a final dissemination event, involving central level stakeholders.
The report highlights the declining prospects of agriculture, which have been compensated with increasing job opportunities in the formal sector – although many people face obstacles in accessing the formal job sector due to the prevalence of subcontracting. Many people, especially the younger generation, are loosing interest in working in the agriculture sector due to high levels of uncertainty in the cultivation process and the falling price of produce.
On the other hand, flourishing food vedors (selling processed and ready to eat food) and increasing women’s participation in the labor force have boosted demand for the convenience of prepared and instant food. Limited knowledge about nutritional values and food safety, combined with the pressures of poverty, often lead people to sacrifice quality for quantity of the food they are consuming.
There is also an increasing preference among children for snack foods. This habit stems from peer pressure, advertisements on television and social media, the availability of food merchants, and increasing amounts of pocket money provided by their parents.
Dissemination and Publication
The main dissemination activity was conducted through a comprehensive multilevel process carried out at the community, district, and national level. In addition, the research team has produced:
- An article titled ‘Eating in A Time of Food Price Volatility’ —published on the IDS website.
- An article titled 'Food Price Volatility and the Worrying Trend in Children’s Snacking in Indonesia' published in IDS Bulletin-- a bimonthly peer-reviewed academic journal published by Wiley- Blackwell on behalf of IDS, University of Sussex UK.
- SMERU’s Newsletter, special issue on ‘Community Coping Strategies for Facing Food Price Volatility’.