Political Economy of Rice Policy in Indonesia: Perspective on the ASEAN Economic Community

Arianto Patunru • Assyifa Szami Ilman
Discussion paper Center for Indonesian Policy Studies • January 2020 Indonesia


The quest for Indonesia’s sustainable food security currently lies on how the country manages its most important food commodity: rice. The Indonesian government, through numerous instruments, has been involved extensively in intervening the domestic rice market as a way to navigate economic and political dynamics over the years. The combination of price stabilization and other policies related to production of rice has culminated in the current rice policy that is restrictive to international trade. However, the recent development on rice issue, such as import policies, rising rice price, and also local farmers’ welfare have forced the need for further examination of rice policy in Indonesia. We argue that getting the right rice policy will be an essential move to further achieve and maintain sustainable food security in Indonesia. This paper is intended to describe historically rice policies that have taken place and are currently implemented in Indonesia. We highlight the key problems related to data reliability and we discuss the main narratives and paradigms that underlie the policies across different periods. We then offer a discussion about the possibility of new platform of rice trade to further achieve sustainable food security in Indonesia, which should be considered in the context of regional cooperation with the other ASEAN members, i.e. ASEAN Economic Community.





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SMERU Research Institute

Australian National University