Based on recent research, the FAO stated that Southeast Asian countries made tremendous progress in reducing hunger. Over the past 25 years, the number of hungry people declined by 50 percent. This achievement is the most amazing example of hunger eradication in the world and is in line with the 1996 World Food Summit and Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Smulders said that Indonesia’s robust economic growth and adequate government policies regarding the food and agriculture sectors helped to achieve the MDG hunger reduction target. The percentage of the Indonesian population that suffers from hunger declined from 19.7 percent in the period 1990-1992 to 7.6 percent in 2014-16. However, although successful in increasing the availability of food and energy sources, Indonesia has made slow progress in reducing the number of undernourished people, especially children. Data stemming from 2013 indicate that 37 percent of Indonesian children (under the age of five years) are plagued by the lack of access to nutritious and varied food products.

Still, Anthea Webb, Representative of the World Food Program in Indonesia, emphasizes that Indonesia is successful in reducing the number of hungry people and is optimistic that the goal of sustainable development to eradicate hunger and achieve food security by 2030 can be achieved. Regarding the future, Webb is enthusiastic about further cooperation with the Indonesian government to eradicate hunger and provide nutritious food for all people as well as agriculture carried out applying sustainable principles.

The FAO notes that Indonesia has made various efforts to support domestic food and nutrition security. Based on the country’s Food Law No. 18/2013, obtaining enough food is a human right of each citizen. Indonesian law also mentions that the state must ensure the availability of sufficient, safe and nutritious food products for all people and at affordable prices.

The challenge that is faced by Indonesia (and other Southeast Asian countries) is not only to produce more food on increasingly limited land, but also to enhance people’s access to food while facing various threats such as infrastructure bottlenecks in the rural areas. Roughly half of Indonesia’s population currently lives in rural areas where agriculture and fishery are the main livelihood of the people. Therefore, it is important for the government to stimulate investment in rural areas to improve the productivity of local communities.