CIPS exposes links between sustainable agriculture, trade restrictions, food prices, and fulfilment of nutrition for the Indonesian consumers. To promote a policy that helps low-income families to access quality staple food, CIPS advocates for policies that break down the barriers for the private sector to openly operate in the food and agriculture sector as well as for increasing farmers’ welfare. CIPS formulates policy alternatives that call for the dismantling of trade barriers and promoting open trade for strategic food items in order to stabilize food prices in the country.
To enable low-income Indonesian consumers accessing more affordable and quality staple food items through dismantling trade barriers and implementing more open trade policy.
Monthly Household Index (Bu RT Index)
The Bu RT Index (Indeks Bulanan Rumah Tangga or Monthly Household Expenses Index) measures and tracks how much Indonesians pay for basic food items, compared to consumers in neighbouring countries. It is part of Hak MakMur campaign or Right to Prosper. This comparison aims to show how much Indonesian families would have saved on basic food items if they had bought them in neighbouring countries.
Monitoring food prices is critically important for Indonesia. There are an estimated 24.79 million Indonesians living under the poverty line, and based on March 2018 data, approximately 20.19% of the entire population remains vulnerable of falling into poverty, as their income hovers marginally above the national poverty line, which in total constitutes more than a third of the country’s population. Households in these groups spend 50-70% of their income solely on basic food items; therefore, the slightest movement in food prices will determine how much these people will get to eat.
If food prices become too expensive, poor families are unable to cover their daily nutritional needs. This has serious consequences for Indonesian children; currently, 27.67% of them aged 0-5 years suffer from chronic malnutrition. Malnutrition severely stunts early childhood development and affects the ability of children to academically perform well and reach higher education levels. In the long term, this means a population with low education and insufficient skills, further perpetuating cycles of poverty in Indonesia.
The Index shows which food item is the most overpriced, which could help each household to plan their food expenditures accordingly and highlights how much money could have been saved by poor and vulnerable families, which could have been used to buy more food for family members, or used for other life necessities such as education or healthcare expenses. The Index is meant to empower Indonesian households so they will have a better understanding of where their hard-earned income goes every time they purchase their food. Lastly, the Index also serves to inform and support government policies that ensure access to affordable quality food for Indonesia’s poor.
Read more about the methodology here.