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Story Publication logo August 31, 2023

Examining the Uneasy Food Story on Timor Island (bahasa Indonesia)


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The diversity of food sources and culture which is the foundation of a sustainable local food system...

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Multiple Authors

This story excerpt was translated from bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit Kompas. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website. Our website is available in EnglishSpanishbahasa IndonesiaFrench, and Portuguese.

Seorang anak perempuan tengah menunggu ibunya berjualan sayur-mayur di Pasar Soe, Kabupaten Timor Tengah Selatan, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Minggu (6/8/2023). Kota kecil berketinggian 800 meter di atas permukaan laut ini juga biasa disebut ”Kota Membeku” karena cuaca di kota ini jauh lebih dingin daripada kota lain di Pulau Timor. Kota Soe berjarak 110 kilometer dari Kota Kupang, ibu kota Provinsi Nusa Tenggara Timur.
A girl waits for her mother to sell vegetables at Soe Market, South Central Timor Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Sunday (6/8/2023). This small city with an altitude of 800 meters above sea level is also commonly called the "Freezing City" because the weather in this city is much colder than other cities on Timor Island. Soe City is 110 kilometers from Kupang City, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara Province. Image by Agus Susanto/Kompas. Indonesia, 2023.

Many children on Timor Island no longer recognize local food, preferring to eat instant noodles, rice and biscuits. We traveled through the cities to map the root of the problem.

Food issues in Indonesia are more often reported from the perspective of the availability of rice supply and the rise and fall of commodity prices in the market. We traveled to small islands in the archipelago to explore the intersectionality of food with health issues, culture, and the challenges of climate change.

Our journey began in Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara Province, on Saturday (5/8/2023), as part of an effort to map the food system in small islands. This coverage is a continuation of our previous efforts to cover food issues in Central Kalimantan and Merauke.

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As in those two regions, this trip to Timor Island was also supported by the Rainforest Journalism Fund-Pulitzer Center. Previously, in Central Kalimantan, we discovered the collapse of the Ngaju Dayak food barn in Central Kalimantan due to the ban on traditional farming practices since 2015.

The food estate project by creating new rice fields on the peatlands of Kapuas and Pulang Pisau cannot replace traditional farming practices. Food fulfillment for Dayak Ngaju farmers has been disrupted, resulting in their children dropping out of school and marrying early.

Aneka jenis sayuran dan jamur yang biasa dikonsumsi masyarakat Dayak Ngaju di Kalimantan Tengah. Keberagaman sumber pangan menjadi pola diet tradisional masyarakat Dayak, tetapi belakangan semakin menurun.
Various types of vegetables and mushrooms commonly consumed by the Ngaju Dayak community in Central Kalimantan. Diversity in food sources is a traditional dietary pattern of the Dayak community, but has recently declined. Image by Ahmad Arif. Indonesia, 2023.
Seorang anak bernama Solomon tengah makan tunas atau anakan bambu hutan di Distrik Animha, Kabupaten Merauke, Papua, Jumat (11/11/2022).
A child named Solomon eats forest bamboo shoots or saplings in Animha District, Merauke Regency, Papua, Friday (11/11/2022). Image by Agus Susanto/Kompas. Indonesia, 2023.
Foto udara antrean kendaraan yang melalui jalan yang ditutup sementara saat berlangsung proyek pengaspalan jalan di Desa Binaus, Kecamatan Mollo Tengah, Kabupaten Timor Tengah Selatan, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Sabtu (5/8/2023). Pengaspalan jalan dilakukan untuk memperlancar mobilitas dari Kabupaten Timor Tengah Selatan menuju Kabupaten Timor Tengah Utara.
Aerial photo of a queue of vehicles passing through a temporarily closed road during a road paving project in Binaus Village, Central Mollo Subdistrict, South Central Timor Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Saturday (5/8/2023). Road paving is carried out to facilitate mobility from South Central Timor Regency to North Central Timor Regency. Image by Agus Susanto/Kompas. Indonesia, 2023.
Lu’at fermentasi disantap dengan hidangan jagung bose, makanan khas masyarakat Nusa Tenggara Timur yang kaya akan sumber karbohidrat, protein, dan lemak nabati. Menu ini tersaji saat kegiatan pendokumentasian resep tradisional dalam program Pusaka Rasa Nusantara yang dilakukan oleh Yayasan Nusa Gastronomi Indonesia.
Lu'at fermented with corn bose, a specialty of the people of East Nusa Tenggara that is a rich source of carbohydrates, protein and vegetable fat. This menu was served during the traditional recipe documentation activity in the Pusaka Rasa Nusantara program conducted by the Nusa Gastronomi Indonesia Foundation. Image by Melati Mewangi/Kompas. Indonesia, 2023.
Pekerja mengangkut beras di Pelabuhan Tobilota, Pulau Adonara, Flores Timur, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Rabu (9/8/2023). Satu karung beras seberat 50 kilogram yang didatangkan dari Larantuka tersebut dijual Rp 575.000.
Workers transport rice at Tobilota Port, Adonara Island, East Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Wednesday (9/8/2023). One 50-kilogram sack of rice imported from Larantuka is sold for IDR 575,000. Image by Agus Susanto/Kompas. Indonesia, 2023.
Sawah tadah hujan di Oesao, Kabupaten Kupang, Nusa Tenggara Timur, terancam gagal panen akibat kekeringan.
Rain-fed rice fields in Oesao, Kupang Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, are threatened with crop failure due to drought. Image by Kornelis Kewa Ama/Kompas. Indonesia, 2023.
Potret perempuan dan anak anak-anak di teras rumahnya di Desa Binaus, Kecamatan Mollo Tengah, Timor Tengah Selatan, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Sabtu (5/8/2023).
A portrait of women and children on the terrace of their house in Binaus Village, Central Mollo Subdistrict, South Central Timor, East Nusa Tenggara, Saturday (8/5/2023). Image by Agus Susanto/Kompas. Indonesia, 2023.



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