Food security for the population after the Sinabung volcanic eruption
Title: Support for the rural population following the eruption of the volcano Sinabung
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture
Overall term: 2014 to 2015
The 2,460-metre-high volcano Sinabung is located on the north of the island of Sumatra, and had been dormant for over 400 years. Since August 2010, there has been an irregular series of eruptions occurring at shorter and shorter intervals and producing a strong lava flow. In October 2014 residents fled the affected areas following repeated eruptions. Due to the ash deposits it was no longer possible to cultivate the agricultural land and food shortages developed. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this has affected about 7,850 hectares of productive and arable land. The total value of lost production amounts to EUR 8.1 billion.
The volcanic eruption and its aftermath have put at risk the livelihoods of more than 30,000 people. The displaced people are now living in refugee camps or with family members, and they are dependent on the support of the government or their relatives. As many four families sometimes live together in small temporary shelters with inadequate sanitation. The great majority of these people are subsistence farmers who have lost their source of income. According to local authorities, incidences of nutrient deficiency and malnutrition had been increasing among the affected population, even before the recent wave of refugees. The food security of the displaced people is now acutely vulnerable.
With access to adequate food supplies, the people affected by the volcanic eruption now have greater food security. The families possess the appropriate know-how for increasing their agricultural yields.
For the duration of the project, the refugees receive nutritionally supplemented foodstuffs twice a week, by way of a short-term food-aid. At the same time, in two districts where they have resettled, smallholder farming families are supplied with agricultural inputs including seed, fertiliser and crop protection products. In agricultural training courses and consultations, these farmers learn ways of cultivating their land sustainably while achieving high yields.