COVID-19, food instability and the resilience of native ladies in Indonesia

Dapatkan promo member baru Pengeluaran SDY 2020 – 2021.

A year has actually passed since the Indonesian federal government declared the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country. Infections have actually surpassed greater than 1.5 million situations, declaring greater than 43,000 lives. The Indonesian federal government has actually imposed huge range social distancing or PSBB (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar) since April 2020, creating a problem for the home economy. For several metropolitan bad and casual workers in the city, remaining at house methods losing their source of income. Functioning means exposure to the virus.

The 2019 Centre of Stats Bureau states that the number of those residing in hardship in rural areas is more than the number of poor in the cities (15.1 million in backwoods compared to 9.9 million in the metropolitan locations). Despite this, adhering to the virus outbreak, 7% of Indonesian individuals in the cities– the majority migrant, casual as well as seasonal employees– determined to return to their respective villages, finding methods to safeguard their survival despite the federal government’s restriction on mudik or the annual return to hometowns before the Eid holiday.

It is worth checking out the contradictions that occur from the reality that villages are at the same time areas with higher incidences of poverty, yet have been treated as a safeguard for city dwellers because the pandemic struck. Destitution is experienced unevenly in rural areas, with some managing to avoid the destitution that prevails in the cities.

Hardship indicators are insufficient for catching sensations in which those who might not consume or possess a decent life by modern-day criteria can really maintain standard survival with suggests not feasible in the middle of city life. Destitution information issued by the federal government can not be the only reference for comprehending the household economy during the pandemic. Such signs are unable of representing the personality of social recreation in backwoods, specifically in position where aboriginal areas live.

While the problem of food protection has actually come to be central, lots of native ladies in rural areas have actually shown their durability in offering food for their family members amid the pandemic. The secret to this resilience is their role in social reproduction, which is installed in every day life.

The concept of social recreation involves the facility that the global economic system depends on the role of women in the recreation of human life. While individuals of all genders progressively sign up with progressively precarious labour pressures, women continue to bear the impact of functions taking care of shelter, supplying food and other unsettled care work important to maintaining life. Workers’ engagement in the worldwide market economic climate continue to be based on the performance of the supposed domestic ball. Bhattacharya asserts there is an indivisible circuit of production and also social recreation maintaining resources accumulation at the global degree.

In the context of the pandemic, it is worth taking a closer take a look at the ball of social recreation for explanations of who is able to sustain the present conditions of precarity. For indigenous women in particular, access to or control over the means of production reduces their reliance on the market to fulfil their day-to-day demands. Devi Anggraini, the Head of the Women’s Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership of the Archipelago (PEREMPUAN AMAN), estimates that 70% of farming tasks in Indonesia are carried out by indigenous women, adding to the food safety of 31 million Indonesian individuals. They may rely upon the marketplace for details commodities, yet in the middle of PSBB’s flexibility constraints, many still have their very own food sources and take care of to feed themselves. This circumstance is different to the experiences of several city bad ladies, that count much more greatly on market mechanisms for their survival.

Below we would like to tell stories of actual ladies with different histories, living rooms, and economic scenario, to reveal a spectrum of experiences throughout the pandemic. Maria, Mince as well as Anik, either as homemakers or heads of the household, have actually gone through the federal government’s steps aimed at protecting against the spread if COVID-19. Nevertheless, each’s accessibility to food has been impacted differently.


Maria is an aboriginal woman of Dayak Benuaq who copes with her partner as well as children in a rural area in West Kutai, East Kalimantan. Adhering to the episode of the pandemic, lots of native peoples in Indonesia left their villages as well as separated themselves in their fields (ladang). This customized was a local campaign that assisted to stop the spread of the virus.

Maria as well as her household also separated themselves in their area where they can satisfy their food and nutritional needs. Some of the area is enclosed by a palm plantation, which created an adjoining river to overflow and also flood component of Maria’s field and that of other villagers.

Maria and also her family did not obtain any COVID-19 remedy for the federal government. She believes that town governments prioritised their loved ones as beneficiaries of social assistance. Thankfully, she joined a nationwide indigenous females organisation that supplied some food support. When she was asked what her requirements were, she stated she only required 20 kilos of rice to last one month. She could obtain other foods such as vegetables and from the readily available farmland.


Mince is an indigenous lady of Rendu, East Nusa Tenggara. After her spouse passed away in the early 1990s, Mince and also her 2 kids decided to go back to her mom’s village. In Rendu, Mince received a plot of farmland from the native leaders in the neighborhood as component of a decision to disperse housing great deals and farms for recently married couples and also widows.

Since 2016, her town has been among the locations impacted by the building and construction of the Lambo Reservoir. Part of the Rendu territory will be sunk by the water catchment, including Mince’s field as well as house. Dice and various other indigenous females in the area opposed against the tank strategy and have actually temporarily stopped its application. Yet throughout their protests, Mince as well as other indigenous ladies in the location suffered verbal as well as physical violence from the cops.

Normally, Dice just goes to the marketplace as soon as a month. It has to do with a two-hour journey from the village to the market and also, like many others, she can not drive a car. Taking an ojek (motor flight) is costly. Sometimes Mince ride on a pick-up auto possessed by her neighbors to the market. She normally only gets salt and also food preparation oil. When the local government recommended people not to leave their towns, Dice mostly bothered with exactly how to obtain salt. She can acquire other foods such as rice, vegetables, eggs as well as fish from the rice fields, forest as well as ranch.


Anik is a widow from Pekanbaru City, Riau. She does not have a set revenue and satisfies her daily demands by relying on aid from her little girl and boy in-law. Given that the implementation of PSBB, her son-in-law has actually been incapable to work, so she relies on her little girl that is still operating in the retail sector. Since PSBB, her daily meals have actually been composed just of rice with chilli and salt.

Her neighbor, Yus, a widow with 6 kids, is facing the same problems. She utilized to be a food supplier before a school, however because institutions are momentarily shut, Yus is no longer able to work. Instant noodles have actually ended up being a day-to-day meal for her and also her children since PSBB. Anik contacted the head of her metropolitan village to inquire about government assistance however did not get an action.

Shared insecurity in the cities as well as towns

As the stories above showed, the capacity of women to survive during the pandemic is associated with ownership and accessibility to food sources. Ownership as well as cultivation of food sources, in many cultures, is embedded in ladies’s duties in social reproduction as well as their unsettled roles in household treatment as well as housework. The experiences of Anik and also her neighbor, Yus, are shaped by their surrounding, privatised environment in the cities, which no more supplies collective living spaces to sustain individuals’s fundamental demands.

While some aboriginal neighborhoods have actually been much less impacted by the pandemic, social recreation is rather a website of struggle amid an ongoing risk that they will be displaced from the common or popular land that make up their income sources. 40% of indigenous towns are located both within and around forest zones. Aboriginal women farmers occupy the low circuit of capitalism as they are not integrated right into the wage labour system, yet live in constant tension with resources buildup of worldwide supply chains.

Maria and Minke are active political agents who battle aggressive large-scale industrialisation that threatens their resources of livelihood. Poor women, particularly indigenous women, have actually been adversely impacted by the crisis of land encroachment and variation. In 2019, at least six native tribes (among others, the tribes of Maybrat, Iwaro, Yeinan, Marind, Mandobo as well as Arfak) in Papua shed around 228,510 hectares of their woodlands because of the expansion of a hand plantation. Instances exist in Papua and also Kalimantan where dispossessed indigenous women have actually been delegated work as low-cost hacienda labourers in what they referred to as their forefather’s land.

The migration of working class city dwellers back to their villages, against the federal government’s suggestions not to head out of community, symbolizes a concrete material problem of survival in both the cities and rural areas. The cities are dealt with as a major website for job opportunity yet it stops working to give fundamental food safety and security when the marketplace is interfered with. Concurrently, lots of rural areas as well as aboriginal villages are encountering dangers of land transformation and dispossession that push people to flock right into the cities for jobs. Protecting country indigenous people’s accessibility to as well as control over the ways of production is also linked to the well-being of migrant employees in the cities.

This opposition is likely to worsen under the current passing away of the Omnibus Legislation, which will provide a legal basis for land dispossession by extractive sectors in aboriginal communities where females play a main function. Meanwhile, the draft of the Indigenous Communities Regulation, which would certainly allow healing systems to compensate the effect of the agrarian as well as ecological dilemmas, has been delayed by the national parliament for the last 13 years.

The pandemic has provided Indonesia vulnerable to a food crisis, but any option needs to resolve the issues of continuous agricultural conflict and also land transformation. Our plans in reducing the spread of COVID-19 will identify whether we will certainly come under hunger. Head of state Joko Widodo’s financial plan for 2015-19 has actually put a strong focus on a development price of 7%. COVID-19 has yet to be taken as a difficult lesson in sustainable growth. The emphasis on environmentally devastating markets as well as the extension of mega infrastructure tasks for improving financial investment are advancement with no vision of sustainability.

At the face of multiple situations, females like Minke and also Maria might represent our last bastion of food survival. Nevertheless, the totally free and cumulative food supplies within their home are under consistent danger. If we remain to accept and also continue a financial system that establishes itself on revenue or growth prices over people’s well-being, then we are not protecting the Indonesian economic system from the pandemic or any various other situation that might emerge in the future.