Indonesia’s rainy season this year is expected to receive below-average rainfall due to the El Niño climate phenomenon, posing a significant challenge to the country’s rice production and self-sufficiency goals. The National Food Agency (Bapanas) has warned that the nationwide drought caused by El Niño could delay next year’s harvest by two months. This is particularly concerning for the domestic rice sector. While Indonesia imports rice, its demand is primarily met by its domestic production. The Jokowi administration recently announced its target of achieving rice self-sufficiency by 2026. However, El Niño has undermined these plans. National production is projected to decline by 1 million tones by the end of this year compared to last year, falling from 31 million tones to 30 million tones. In addition to this setback, Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman has estimated that Indonesia may need to import up to 5 million tones of rice by 20241, a substantial amount for a country aiming to achieve centralized rice production within just two years. Apart from El Niño, Indonesia also grapples with rising food prices due to global supply chain disruptions, turbulent geopolitical conflicts, and post-COVID-19 impacts. These factors are expected to contribute to a 3.2% inflation rate next year2.
With growing instability stemming from weather conditions, inflation, foreign affairs and food insecurity, questions arise about the policies that candidates will promote in the upcoming presidential election. Prabowo Subianto, one of the leading candidates, is the only one who has expressed his intention of continuing President Jokowi’s food estate program with the same goal of food self-sufficiency. Conversely, the other two contenders, Ganjar Pranowo and Anies Baswedan, have distanced themselves from it, suggesting that the controversial agriculture project may not be the right solution to address the country’s pressing food security issues. Amidst geopolitical and national volatility, the potential exists for further instability in Indonesia’s food resilience.
 News Desk, (2023), “Indonesia may import up to five million tonnes of rice until 2024, agriculture minister says, The Jakarta Post, November 13.
 CNA, (2023), “Indonesia central bank sees stronger inflation in 2024 as food, energy prices rise”, Channel News Asia, November 13.