All Lies? Famines in Sukarno's Indonesia, 1950s-1960s

Indonesia Project

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 25 September 2012


Seminar Room B, Coombs Building, Fellows Road, ANU


Pierre van der Eng (ACDE)

Food shortages and famines occurred in Indonesia during the 1950s and 1960s, but little is known about why and to what extent. Political turmoil absorbed most public attention, and since 1957 the Sukarno government bridled the national press and limited access by the international media to the country’s interior, while the disintegration of the public service prevented centralised systematic data collection.

This paper draws on newspaper reports and contemporary secondary literature to analyse the issue. While deteriorating general economic circumstances and crop failures are relevant, the paper concludes that operations of the state-owned food logistics agency in markets for key food crops immobilised food stocks and exacerbated regional food shortages, in some cases contributing to regional famines.

» view paper [PDF,716KB]

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