Food Price Watch - Jakarta

Food Price Watch - Jakarta

A woman at a food stall in Jakarta
World Food Crisis

The Jakarta basket

Each week, our correspondent visits the same shop to buy five of the staple items found in the typical Jakarta shopping basket.

The price rises and falls will be tracked and contribute to the World Food Price Index.

  • Rice (5kg)
  • Sugar (1kg)
  • Cooking oil (1L)
  • Eggs (1kg)
  • Flour (1kg)

Lucy Williamson in Jakarta writes:

Indonesians aren't big complainers. People here tend more towards cheerful pragmatism than moaning. But wander through the little street markets tucked into Jakarta's alleyways and it's obvious how much rising food prices are hurting. One woman told me today she sometimes didn't eat to save money; a local parking attendant said he'd cut back on buying even baby milk because price rises were squeezing the family finances so much.

So what's to blame? Well part of it is down to changes in the international market: the rising price of oil for example, which - along with cuts in the fuel subsidy here - has meant higher transport and fertilizer costs for producers. And international demand for bio-fuels has also driven up food prices as more farmers switch away from food crops in favour of palm oil and other fuels.

Domestic factors also play an important role. The past month has seen sharp rises in the price of meat and eggs. That's largely down to two local issues: one is a rise in the price of animal feed; the other is the "Eid-effect" - a rise in domestic demand for celebration foods like meat and chicken to celebrate the end of the Muslim month of fasting.

And not everything is going up. Rice prices have remained relatively low this year - mainly because Indonesia produced enough rice to satisfy domestic demand (and then restricted exports anyway to be on the safe side).

The other feature of food shopping here, which some analysts point to, is the fact that most of it is done in traditional markets. Prices here, they say, fluctuate far more and more often than in countries dominated by big supermarket chains.

The graph

Food Price Watch - Jakarta