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Staple foods other...

Indonesia should return to locally produced staple foods other than rice, to improve the country’s food security, activists say.

“There is a growing idea that staple foods other than rice, such as cassava and corn, are ‘poor people’s foods’, when in fact people in some regions have been been consuming these foods for a long time," Tini Sastra from Solidaritas Perempuan said in South Jakarta on Wednesday.

Indonesia’s dependence on rice made it vulnerable to food crises and meant it had to import stocks when local supplies were short.

“The government … distributes rice for the poor even in regions where the staple food is not rice, thus increasing rice dependency," she said.

Tini cited 2008 data from the Central Statistics Agency, which shows that Indonesia produced 32 million tons of rice, 19 million tons of corn, and 13 million tons of cassava that year.

“This means that while rice is the staple food for the majority of the population, other sources of carbohydrate are still consumed by many," she said.

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