Famine: Corn-bustion

Work In Progress

In a year when the economic crisis is very much latent, the Indonesian government is aggressively allocating its funds to the food estate program. In short, it is a food storage heralded as the country’s food supply in the case of crisis. However, in practice, the aroma of colonialism a la cultuurstelsel, which was done by the Dutch during its occupancy of Indonesia, shows its traces. “Forced” renting and planting are reintroduced. The president asked thousands of village heads to negotiate with farmers and land owners, which pressured them not to refuse, “for the sake of the homeland”. Exasperatingly, instead of the farmers themselves, the military is appointed to cultivate the agricultural lands.

Corn, to the Indonesian people, is the symbol of survival amidst poverty – a symbol of hunger. Corn was once a political tool for several previous Indonesian presidents used to alleviate people’s tension over an ongoing crisis. 

Prior to the Green Revolution of Indonesia, paddy rice was an expensive and exclusive crop. Most of the people who resided in the eastern part of Indonesia consumed corn instead of paddy rice. Corn rice is the staple food of the poor here, especially in areas where the terrains are too dry and not suitable for paddy.

The biofuel practice is like opening the door to continuous social inequality. Third-world countries will only be an evergreen land for the rich to invest their money, while hunger is never really solved here. 

Observing the phenomenon of biofuels – the combustion of corn and driving cars – leads us to re-evaluate the welfare of humans and nature. Has mobility become much more valuable than hunger? Is mobility created only through the act of combustion? In fact, the mobility of the minds of the poor (historical materialism) to process corn into staple food has brought us a better standard of living. The corn we eat makes us move our bones and joints.