Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Food Supply in Java during War and Decolonisation, 1940-1950

van der Eng, Pierre (2008): Food Supply in Java during War and Decolonisation, 1940-1950. Published in: (1994)

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It is readily assumed that the average level of living in Indonesia deteriorated during the hectic period 1940-1950. Much of the evidence on economic change during this period is anecdotal. It is difficult to distil a general impression from it. Per capita food consumption is an important indicator of the average standard of living. For that reason this paper monitors the changes in food production, distribution and supply in the densely populated core island of Java in Indonesia. Food supply was adequate in Indonesia when the Japanese attack on the country started in 1941. During 1944-1948 per capita food supply was at a very low level in Java. In the years 1943-1945 the low level was caused by the restrictions imposed by the Japanese authorities on the domestic trade of food products, and by the coercive system of purchasing rice for distribution. Both created disincentives for farmers to produce a food surplus. Similar reasons explain the situation during the years 1946-1948. Moreover, the controversy between the returning colonial government and the government of the nationalist Republic of Indonesia impeded free shipments of food between the food deficient urban areas and the food producing rural areas. Food supply recovered during 1948-1950, with the economic re-integration of most of Indonesia.

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