“It’s sad to see that countries now halt their food exports. Wheat, rice, sugar, everything,” he highlighted at the opening of the national working meeting of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) in Jakarta.
A number of countries, such as Uganda, Russia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Myanmar, have decided to stop exporting food, including wheat and rice, he said.
A developed country in Europe has also experienced food shortages due to Ukraine and Russia stopping wheat exports, he added.
He emphasized that there is no easy solution for the current food crisis amid the threat of climate change.
The prolonged dry season due to the El Nino phenomenon has caused crop failures, especially in seven regions, that could also affect domestic food supplies.
The seven regions, according to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), are central to southern parts of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara, southern Kalimantan, most areas in Sulawesi, some parts of North Maluku, Maluku, and southern part of Papua.
Therefore, the President emphasized the need for a thorough plan for the next 10 years to achieve food security.
With the Indonesian population growing by 1.25 percent every year, it is estimated that the figure could reach 310 million by 2030.
In addition to climate change, global food supply has also been affected by the current geopolitical situation, Widodo noted.
“First, it is the threat of climate change. Second, it is related to the world geopolitical situation that has also affected the food supply,” he elaborated.
The Russia-Ukraine war, he said, has curbed wheat supply in the international market by 207 million tons.
Ukraine has halted the export of 77 million tons of wheat, while Russia has stopped 130 million tons of the export due to concerns over security on the sea following the war.
“We imported 11 million tons of wheat, and almost 30 percent (of the import) originated from Ukraine and Russia as the world’s largest producers,” he added.
This situation has sparked food price hikes in Africa, Asia, and Europe, Widodo said.
Related news: Balancing rice security, food diversification as prices boil
Related news: Jakarta bolsters Cheap Food Movement to tackle soaring rice prices
Related news: Bapanas assures of food price stabilization to control inflation