By Rainer Heufers

Last month, President Jokowi started his second presidential term and we shared with you his to-do list for the upcoming five years. By now, he has vowed to streamline business registration processes under one agency, to create a positive list of sectors where foreign investment is encouraged, and to gradually reduce corporate income tax to 20%. These are good news for the country and there were also good news for Center for Indonesia Policy Studies (CIPS).

Food and agriculture will become number one among the government’s research priorities. Our team learned this when we took part in the national coordination meeting held by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce. The Research and Technology Minister told us that he does not only count on research by government agencies. Rather, the private sector shall become a crucial partner of the government.

This means a great deal for CIPS as an independent research organization—and for you, our valued supporters!

While we are busy preparing more policy papers we also went into filming. Messages that emanate from our policy research are grounded in scientific research, but they also need to appeal to the emotional senses of our audience, so let’s have some fun while we are at it, shall we?

In collaboration with a popular YouTuber, CIPS produced a short film on the rice distribution chain and the actors involved. Watch here, just like more than 23,000 other viewers did! No worries, the film is subtitled in English. Right now, the CIPS outreach team is heading to the fifth city to screen the film and to hold fun and super interactive discussions with university students.

Bakoel Kosong or ‘empty bowl’, as the film is titled, gives thought to how rice can actually be cheaper and fill the meal bowls of Indonesia’s poor. Trade restrictions are one of the obstacles and affect poverty and public health, as CIPS observed in one of our latest studies.

Besides rice, we also looked at other commodities. Indonesia produces the 2nd most rubber, 3rd most cocoa, and 4th most coffee globally. Yet productivity is lower than in other countries—there is definitely much room to grow. A study of ours showed how initiatives by the private sector have significantly increased productivity and led the way to agricultural growth!

Before I finish this month’s update, I want to share with you that we have moved office! With a refreshed team structure, we have chosen to work from a new place. Come find us and learn more about our public policy research here!

Salam hangat,

Rainer Heufers