Indonesians Resonance

Let Indonesians talk more about Indonesia development, and let its resonances break the lame development.

Food Security or Industrialization

According to experiences in most parts of the world, the process of development leads to urbanization where shifting population, the emergence of the industrial and services sectors and the expansion of infrastructure are demanded. Of course, those require the more use of land. Hence, some agricultural land has to be converted for the non-agricultural purposes, which usual greatest demand is for industrial purposes. As industries expand, more land is used for the facilities which they are conducted; for the transportation, communication, power infrastructures that supports them; and for their labor and staff housing instead (Xiangzheng Deng, Jikun Huang, Scott Rozelle and Emi Uchida, 2006, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy website).

On the other hand, the rate of farmland loss has endangered the ability to meet future ‘food security’ needs. It may happen in regional level for the first time, and would have possibility to continue the impact to country level and global level at the end. The `food security` is a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (Food And Agriculture Organization website). So then, the need to keep well the agricultural land which will regularly producing the sufficient food for people around the globe.

Frequently, some planners or development actors have to face this dilemma which likes “a coin with two different sides”. Both sides have a great positive impact in term of human being development, where in this case we will discuss it in term of in urban areas. So, which side would be a better chosen?

Some decision makers would like to prioritize industrial development over the agricultural sector because they believe Gerard Destanne de Bernis’s model, Lewis model and many theories which advocate that industrialization is a vital for development of third world countries (United Nations University website). Other reason is that for economic (technology, productivity, income) and large absorption of huge unemployment reasons, industry has superiority over agriculture (United Nations University website) which always set it as a main development priority in urban areas. The other reason is the difficulty to reach optimal result of agriculture production (quality and quantity) in the urban areas due to less land for irrigation facilities (such as dam), and the movement of people life style toward ‘modernization’. Almost young generation in the urban areas would prefer technology (modernization) rather than agriculture as their majority. It means there is a less prospect for agriculture generation and its development in urban areas. In term of the food security, the “pros” of industrialization argued that it is about equitable access to food which refers to access to the supply of food and ability of human to obtain the food (Jan McHarry, Frances Scott and Jennifer Green, 2002). Good supply food for urban areas may be achieved by providing attractive market places (with assumption the roads is well improve as support from industrialization) where the food would like and easily come from other areas (especially from rural area) which have agriculture sector as their basis development strategy. Instead, it will ensure the quality of the food to feed urban people. In term to the ability to obtain the food, the “pros” of industrialization ensure that when industrialization runs in a good way, the people income would generate and automatically increase their ability to the food.

On the other hand, another some decision makers try to emphasize the important of the ‘food security’ by advocate to keep well agriculture land from conversion in urban areas. The reason is because it would maintain regional, national and international food supply where the food insecurity would link to the aggravation of poverty. We can imagine how the bad things would really happen if the process of development around the world leads to increased urbanization, where all urban areas tend to convert the farmland for industrial needs. It is not only about food insecurity but also about unhealthy human being and environment degradation. Furthermore, agriculture may also contribute to local economies through sales, job creation, support services, and businesses, while distinctive agricultural landscapes may be magnets for tourism.

According to this debate, I would like to put my opinion that everything should be set in “balance” circumstances. It means there is certain condition where we have to decide to convert the agricultural land and there is also certain condition where we have to protect the agricultural land. Not so arrogant to one of each as many politicians did.

Because of that, I would prefer to use statement that the land conversion should be managed legally in order to ensure food security. I don’t like to use the “be restricted” because it is very strict for the something which very dynamic. “Be managed” has a really flexible meaning which is important in order to face unpredictable condition. Don’t forget that all should be done base on a wise and integrated plan and development priority. Furthermore, the restriction of land conversion is not only the one way to ensure the food security for urban people, because food security is about access to the supply of food and ability of human to obtain the food. In a simple term, food security is about access to get the food and price of food itself. Why do we have to keep on organizing the agricultural land where we know that we have a less potential for that? Why we don’t want to let our food needs be produced by our neighbor and we will produce another specialized things where we have big potential for that?

As a part of my proposal, I imagine there is a global organization which takes care in managing about land conversion in order to ensure global food security where all country as it members. Each country has approved quotas in term of agriculture land conversion. The quotas are determined and up dated regularly in term of “balance” country condition. There is a rule which allows quota selling and buying activities between different countries and any other complement rules.

It may also be implemented at country level where all province as its members. There is a national organization which takes care in managing about the land conversion to ensure national food security. Each province has approved quotas in term of agriculture land conversion. The quotas are determined and up to dated regularly in term of “balance” province condition. There is a rule which allows quota selling and buying activities between different provinces and any other rules.

Again, I just want to say that this is about development priorities of among the regions and the countries. So, the need to understand well our and their development priorities in term of present situation.

Bang Jenal


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