From Manuel Aranda da Silva, Chief, Technical Support Service. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page at http://www.wfp.org/ or by electronic mail from Deborah.Hicks@wfp.org (fax 39 06 6513 2837). For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Aleesa.Blum@wfp.org or Marius.deGaayFortman@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2004 or 06 6513 2250. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.
PART I - HIGHLIGHTS
(Details below in Part II)
1. Update - information as of 6 October
a) Extracts from the findings of the joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Indonesia of 7-28 September are given below. Paddy production estimates for 1997/98 season revised downward to 45.38 million tonnes. Rice import requirement now estimated at around 5.14 million tonnes for 1998/99 marketing year. About 1.43 million tonnes of rice need to be covered by commercial/concessional imports, loans, grants and targeted food aid.
b) Increasing concern for food security prospects for a large section of the population as production falls and economic crisis deepens.
c) Implementation continues of WFP EMOP for drought victims. Over 86,000 tonnes of cereals have been delivered.
PART II - DETAILS
1. UPDATE - information as of 6 October
1.1 A joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Indonesia from 7 through 28 September. The mission revised downward its March 1998 paddy production estimates for the 1997/1998 season from 47.45 million tons to 45.38 million tons, the smallest harvest since 1991. Extracts from the Special Report of the findings of the mission are given below. Full text of the report is available on the FAO Web site at http://www.fao.org - click on Economics, GIEWS, Special Reports.
1.2 Based on the current production forecast, the rice import requirement is estimated at around 5.14 million tonnes for the entire 1998/99 marketing year (around 1.64 million tonnes or 47 percent higher than the earlier forecast of 3.5 million tonnes in April). As of mid-September BULOG (the National Logistics Agency) had already imported 2.42 million tonnes of rice and had contracted an additional 525,000 tonnes. Confirmed rice pledges/deliveries amount to a further 765,000 tonnes (including 500,000 tonnes as soft loan and 100,000 tonnes as grain from Japan); of this, 240,000 tonnes are in the form of project food aid and 525,000 tonnes as programme food assistance. This leaves a deficit of about 1.43 million tonnes of rice to be covered by commercial/concessional imports, loans, grants and targeted food aid. Bilateral discussions are underway for part of this amount.
1.3 In addition to rice, there is an import requirement of around 4 million tonnes of wheat, although the removal of subsidies and other factors may have a bearing on the import requirement for wheat. Some of this requirement has been covered through commercial imports and pledged bilateral assistance.
1.4 Food security prospects in Indonesia have worsened as production falls and the economic crisis deepens. The price of imports continues to soar due to dramatic falls in exchange rates, which in turn have fuelled rapid inflation. The Mission brings attention in its report to the fact that the sudden and rapid pace at which events have evolved since mid-1997 has meant that there have been limited opportunities for adequate coping mechanisms to develop, at both the national and household levels, to deal with serious food supply difficulties. Unemployment has risen sharply, and may be over 20 million by the end of 1998. Many unemployed urban workers are moving to rural areas. The number of people who fall below the poverty line has risen sharply and is expected to be around 100 million people by next year. Concerns are mounting that a large section of Indonesia's population will be vulnerable to food insecurity over the coming year.
1.5 Other factors affecting food supply are the political uncertainty, which has led to general insecurity and increased the demand for household stocks, and problems in distribution, resulting from reduced involvement of the private sector (millers/ traders). Many producers are retaining stocks in addition to normal requirements due to the distribution constraints or in anticipation of future price increases.
1.6 Implementation continues of the WFP emergency operation "Emergency Assistance to Drought Victims in Indonesia" (EMOP 6006), distributions under which began on 18 August. The EMOP is now targeting some 5 million beneficiaries. The first assistance was through the Ministry of Agriculture to food for work beneficiaries, poor drought-affected families in rural areas who are working on small-scale community development projects. Distributions to destitute families, through the Ministry of Social Affairs, commenced in September. Activities in conjunction with the Ministry of Health will start in November shortly after the first shipment of wheat soya blend arrives. This component will target pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under five. Due to the pattern of the drought, which affected mainly the eastern areas of the country, assistance is being targeted primarily to areas outside of Java and Sumatra, with only 20 percent of assistance targeted to the two most populous islands. Over 86,000 tonnes of cereals have already been delivered. (EMOP requirements are 225,000 tonnes of rice and 17,000 tonnes of blended food, for a thirteen month period).
1.7 As many of the areas originally targeted by the WFP EMOP may now be suffering less from the drought than from the economic crisis, re-targeting of assistance may be desirable after the next main harvest in March/April 1999. A WFP Programme Review Mission has recently arrived in Indonesia to examine the need and potential for additional food assistance in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. Although difficult to design and implement, the FAO/WFP Mission suggests that there may be some scope for the expansion of food for work programmes into urban and peri-urban areas, in order to encourage participation in community works (such as drainage clearance, sanitation and water supply improvements). WFP and World Vision are currently planning a pilot scheme in Jakarta.