Demand for food in Indonesia is expected to increase significantly towards 2050 as the result of significant income growth and urbanization. A newly published studyfor the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) entitled ‘What Indonesia Wants: Analysis of Indonesia’s Food Demand to 2050’ investigates projected demand for a range of different foods across urban and rural populations under a business-as-usual policy environment, without changes to underlying policies.

“Over the next few decades, sustained economic growth, population increases and continued urbanisation are expected to change Indonesia's demand for food. Not only will total food consumption increase but diets are expected to become more diverse,” write the report’s authors, Caroline Gunning-Trant, Yu Sheng, Patrick Hamshere, Trish Gleeson, and Brian Moir. “The value of agri-food consumption in Indonesia is projected to quadruple between 2009 and 2050. At the same time, the Indonesian agri-food sector faces challenges to increase its production and productivity growth.”

The most significant demand growth is projected for meat, dairy products, fruit and vegetables among urban consumers. Assuming no significant change to agricultural productivity growth, food imports will be an important component of Indonesia's food and feed supply towards 2050.

For the period 2009 to 2050, among the biggest projected increases in the value of food group demand are poultry meat, beef and sheep and goat meat, all expected to rise by a factor of 14. Dairy products are not far behind – estimated to be up tenfold. For all these commodities, the starting point is low compared to other Asian countries but by the end of the period, the value of Indonesia’s poultry meat and beef demand is valued at well over US$30 billion and dairy at approaching US$10 billion.

To meet this growing demand - assuming there are no major policy changes in the meantime – the report highlights that food imports will become an ever more important component of Indonesia's food supply over the next 35 years. It forecasts that the real value of agri-food imports will rise more than 20 times from 2009, to US$152 billion in 2050. By that time, imports of beef are projected to reach US$26 billion (from US$0.5 billion in 2009), and imports of dairy products US$7 billion compared with US$0.4 billion in 2009.

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According to the report, Indonesia's livestock feed is based on locally grown corn but the country relies on imports of many other feedstuffs including soybean meal, rapeseed meal, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal and feed additives.

Because of their geographic proximity, Australia and Indonesia are well placed to benefit from advancing bilateral agricultural trade, according to the ABARES report.

New poultry slaughterhouses for Jakarta

There are signs that Indonesia is taking seriously the growing demand for food and the need to raise food safety standards. Last week, reports Jakarta Post,the capital city’s administration announced plans to concentrate poultry slaughtering at just five new locations. City governor, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, said the new facilities will be equipped with modern technology in order to raise the hygiene standards of chicken meat distributed in the city.

Jakarta Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Security Agency head, Darjamuni Taseda, added that the new slaughterhouses will make it easier for his agency’s employees to control the quality of chicken meat sent to the city’s markets.