Country Focus: Indonesia

by Mindy Dake
Share This:

Official name: Republic of Indonesia.
Capital: Jakarta.
Population: 195.7 million, of which 30% is urban. About 55% of the labor force works in agriculture.
Language: Bahasa Indonesia (official), English, Dutch and local dialects.
Religion: Muslim, 87%; Protestant, 6%; Roman Catholic, 3%; Hindu 2%.
Government: Republic. Chief of state and head of government is President General Soeharto.
Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Food Affairs, National Logistics Board (BULOG).
Land and climate: Archipelago of more than 13,000 islands with a land area of 1.6 million square km. Largest islands are Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi (Celebes) and New Guinea. Terrain is mostly coastal lowlands, but larger islands have interior mountains. Indonesia straddles the equator, and the climate is tropical, hot and humid, although highlands are more moderate.
Indonesia has a 54,716-km coastline. Its land borders are with Papua New Guinea on the eastern island of New Guinea and Malaysia on the island of Borneo.
Economy: Mixed; some central planning, but, since mid-1980s, emphasis placed on deregulation, diversification and development of the private sector.
From 1985 to 1992, gross domestic product grew annually by an average of 6.5%. The World Bank estimated in 1993 that Indonesia should enjoy an increase in real G.D.P. of nearly 70% through the 1990s and that per capita incomes should rise by more than 40% in the same period.
In 1992, agriculture accounted for 18.6% of G.D.P., down from 24% in 1980; industry accounted for 40.8%, down from 41.7%; and services accounted for 40.7%, up from 34.3%.
G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$670 (1992).
Currency: the rupiah; May 6, 1994 exchange rate: 2,158.01 rupiahs per U.S. dollar.
Major crops: Rice, cassava, maize, estate crops (tropical oils, sugar, rubber).
Rice: Rice is Indonesia's most important food crop, with annual per capita consumption estimated at 145 to 150 kg. For 20 years, agricultural policy fostered increasing rice production, and the country became self-sufficient. Annual production and use in the past three years each have averaged about 30 million tonnes.
More than 50% of the crop is grown on the island of Java, which features Indonesia's most productive land. Java also is home to about 60% of Indonesians, and the island continues to draw migrants. As a result, Java's rice fields are threatened by urbanization, and some 20,000 to 30,000 hectares have been lost annually in the past few years to industrial and housing uses.
The government is encouraging rice plantings on other islands, particularly Sumatra, to replace the shrinking area on Java. But concern exists that the less productive land will lead to higher marginal production costs.
Maize: In most areas of the country, maize is a secondary crop planted in the dry season after the rice harvest. Production in the past three years has averaged about 5.6 million tonnes, with use slightly higher at an average of 5.7 million. Indonesia imports 125,000 to 250,000 tonnes of maize each year.
About 50% of supplies are consumed as food, with the remainder used in feed for Indonesia's burgeoning poultry industry. Demand for maize and the percentage consumed in feed should increase substantially as the poultry industry continues to grow.
Livestock: Indonesia's organized livestock sector centers on poultry, an industry that is growing at 15% to 20% a year. A robust economy, rising living standards and government efforts to improve diet and caloric intake all have contributed to the growth.
Production and inventory figures are not available, but annual per capita consumption has been estimated in a range of 1 kg to 2.4 kg, among the world's lowest. Consumption is expected to increase sharply with continued economic growth.
Transportation: Indonesia has 6,964 km of railroads, with more than 90% consisting of 1.067-meter gauge. Of the nearly 120,000 km of highways, 60% are district roads. Major ports include Jakarta and Surabaya on Java and Ujung Pandang on Sulawesi.