Food sovereignty generally regarded as the fulfilment of the human right to determine the access to food and to determine a country’s own food system. In its realization, food sovereignty will be achieved if food producers own, control, and control the means of food production such as land, water, seeds and technology. Another requirement is the implementation of agrarian reform. If one looks at the Food Law, there are a number of problems that hinder the fulfilment of these requirements. Among them:
- There is equal treatment between small food producers such as farmers and fishermen with food business actors which can include agribusiness/food estate as well. This can be seen in the provisions of Article 4 (food administration aims to improve welfare for farmers, fishermen, fish cultivators and food business actors); or Article 17 (the obligation of the Government/Local Government to protect Farmers, Fishermen, Fish Cultivators and Food Business Actors). Meanwhile in Article 18, the Government is required to abolish all policies that have an impact on reducing competitiveness. This Food Law certainly reduces the competitiveness of small food producers when faced with large food companies. The fact is that until now, the Government’s policies and facilities in terms of strengthening the capacity of traditional fishermen in post-catch activities (processing) are still very minimal.
- Article 14 paragraph (2) of the Food Law states that food imports are possible in the event that domestic food production and national food reserves are insufficient. However, in the 2013 Government Work Plan, the Government itself shows empirical facts of a declining trend in domestic food production. There is no time period that confirms how long the domestic food needs will be met by imported food. Throughout 2012, import policy will be the main trend of Indonesian fishery food policy. At least until the quarter of 2012, there are seven imported tuna commodities although tuna is a marine wealth that is spread in Indonesian waters. Likewise, octopus, squid and shrimp are still being imported. Import policy is increasingly irrelevant because it has negative implications for the direction of trade policy and strengthening the independence of the national fishery economy. Exports were boosted, import quotas actually rose drastically. Even more ironic, exports are still dominated by raw and fresh fish, which are a necessity for domestic production and consumption. On the other hand, imported fishery products are not only in the form of processed products, but also raw materials that can actually be found native and naturally in Indonesian waters.
- On the other hand, Article 15 paragraph (2) states that “In the event that the availability of food for consumption needs and food reserves are sufficient, the excess domestic food production can be used for other purposes”. The explanation of this Law defines “for other purposes” as the use of excess food production other than for consumption. These include feed, energy raw materials, industry and/orexports. The Government’s efforts to legitimize the development of biofuels (agrofuels) will of course require a lot of land to be converted into monoculture plantations. If this happens, it will certainly lead to massive land grabbing practices and violations of farmers’ rights. Again, there will be increasingly open access for large companies.
- Further regarding food imports which are more specifically regulated in Article 36 paragraph (1), food imports are not only limited to food insecurity/crisis situations, but also to food that cannot be produced domestically. This will lead to competition between local food products and imported food products.
- Article 39 of the Food Law states that the Government establishes policies and regulations on food imports that do not have a negative impact on the sustainability of farming businesses, increased production, welfare of farmers, fishermen, fish cultivators, and micro and small food business actors. However, farmers, fishermen, fish cultivators, and micro and small food business actors as groups that will be affected are not counted as parties who must be consulted by the Government before importing food so that food imports do not have a negative impact.
- Law Number 5 of 1960 concerning Basic Regulations on Agrarian Principles do not contain on the question of agrarian reform as an important step to realize food sovereignty. Although in the 2013 RKP, the Government has stated that the problem of shrinking productive land is one of the factors causing the decline in food production, the Government does not see that the root of the problem is the lack of true agrarian reform.
- Article 89 in conjunction with Article 141 contains the threat of criminality because
it requires food safety and quality which
must be included in food packaging labels. Non-compliance carries the possibility of imprisonment for a maximum of 2 (two) years or a fine of a maximum of 4 billion. This threat of criminalization applies to small-scale food processors, including fisherwomen. The law does not take into account the fact that almost 50 percent of women from fishing families are involved in fishing activities, which are mainly in processing and selling the catch/aquaculture. Regrettably, they are legally subject to these same rules and regulations. So far, there
has not been sufficient support/facilities for women fishermen in increasing the capacity of fishermen and women fishermen in post-catch activities which should be the government’s obligation. This makes fisherwomen vulnerable to this rule. This rule will only benefit food business actors with large capital ownership.
In this case, there is a need for a Food Security Bill to replace Law no. 18 of 2012 concerning Food, which in the author’s view, is still unable to answer existing problems and has not been able to support farmers and fishermen as food producers. The
Food Law that we are currently guiding is not in accordance with the real conditions we are currently facing. We hope that this law should be a legal product that covers all food interests. Two things need to be done immediately, namely reforming
the bureaucracy that reorganizes the functions and roles of inter-ministerial affairs related to agriculture and food, as well as answering pressing issues facing farmers, such as subsidized fertilizers and fulfilling farmers’ needs for easy and cheap agricultural inputs. To amend Law no. 18 of 2012 alone, is not an easy or quick job. We need to develop small and medium-sized agriculture, not large-scale and not monocultures.
However, on the one hand a review of each article of the Food Bill will quickly show how strongly the draft regulation has an impact on liberalization. This is reflected, among other things, in the draft article which provides for the private sector to store food very widely. Indeed, when we talk about food, it means we are talking about the lives of many people. If these articles are not corrected, it is feared that a very large food liberalization will occur in this country. The food sector of the republic is dominated by a handful of big capitalists. Such conditions will clearly endanger the nation’s food security. However, for the Indonesian people, a grain of rice does not only concern the economic dimension, but also involves many dimensions, including the dimensions of justice, human rights, nationalism, spirituality, and even social and political dimensions. Rice will always be the business of this nation from generation to generation. In designing this bill, the DPR must stick to the basic guidelines, namely the 1945 Constitution so that ancestral values related to food do not fade with other values. YAN/FDH/MGA