UNS – Agricultural expert of Universitas Sebelas Maret (UNS) Surakarta suggested that the government secure the domestic food stocks along with the Covid-19 outbreak. This suggestion is delivered by Dr. Sri Marwanti, the Head of Agribusiness Program Faculty of Agriculture (FP) UNS since the Covid-19 outbreak will threaten the availability of food stocks in Indonesia.
“Covid-19 outbreak affects the availability of food stocks in Indonesia, especially those that are imported,” stated Sri to uns.ac.id, Saturday (21/3/2020).
It is also predicted that food availability will diminish. This is because the food supply is hampered considering that many countries are calling on citizens to conduct social distancing and even lockdowns. In the end, it will also have an impact on rising food prices and inflation.
“Scarcity of food supply will have an impact on rising food prices and rising inflation,” Sri added.
Because of the limitation on imports, this becomes a challenge for domestic food producers to increase their products with good quality in the hope of increasing independence.
“The positive effect, it becomes a challenge to increase domestic food production and will improve food independence through local food consumption. March-April is paddy harvest time; therefore, the availability of rice needs to be managed better. This is conducted so that the community has access (to food) at an affordable price,” she added.
Food availability in Indonesia is still sufficient, but panic buying can also occur. This will result in a scarcity of food.
“In actuality, the availability of food is sufficient to meet the needs of the community, but non-natural disaster emergencies cause panic buying, especially for basic needs,” Sri explained.
Further, Sri also added that panic buying in several places due to the Covid-19 outbreak made several areas to adopt a policy that limits access to outside the home for several weeks. This makes foods, that initially were daily needs for consumers that can be bought anytime, becomes monthly needs that need to be reserved at home during the emergency which is extended to May.
Several steps can be done to solve the panic buying. The government has taken action to secure food supplies, manage food supplies, and facilitate distribution to areas with food supplies shortage. It is expected that these actions will reduce the panic buying.
If there is a scarcity of staples such as rice, then we can move to the group of grains and tubers.
“There are various types of grains and tubers. Education of staple food diversification besides rice (this) is the time to be implemented by the community,” Sri explained. Humas UNS/Zalfaa