Early this year The SMERU Research Institute completed its research on food price volatility. The objective of this research was to document the experiences of the poor in facing sudden and uncertain changes in food price. The study was conducted in three villages, each in Kabupaten Bekasi, Kabupaten Cianjur, and Kabupaten Banjar, from 2012 to 2016.
It appears that changes in the prices of food affect not only people’s nutritional intake and meal patterns. Coping strategies implemented to face food price volatility have caused changes in work pattern and the roles of family members. A number of family members have to work longer hours and sometimes have to work more than one job. These role changes undeniably impact the quality of care which ultimately affect a family’s nutrient intake and healthy living. Through the articles of SMERU’s newsletter, we draw on the aforementioned findings in more detail. We hope that SMERU, as a research institute, can provide research-based information which can encourage policies that are relevant to what is taking place in the lives of the Indonesian people.
To obtain a different perspective, we have invited our peers to share their analyses. Arran McMahon from the University College London suggests that Indonesia draw on lessons learned from other Asia’s middle-income countries’ experiences with regard to overcoming the issue. Said Abdullah—representing the NGO sector on food security issues—in his article offers an alternative solution to the problem of food price volatility which Indonesia frequently faces. Food-related problems concern the lives of the future generation. Therefore, in-depth analyses which show an understanding of the diversity of the issues at the local context on one hand, and show awareness of the similarities among countries on the other hand, are critically needed to bring about appropriate policies.