The recent media coverage, particularly from the Center for the Indonesian Tempe and Tofu Producers Cooperative (Puskopti) DKI Jakarta that held a strike from February 21 to 23, 2022 sends off yet another series of alarm bells for Indonesia.
This month's crises in basic food necessities like cooking oil, potatoes, beef and tempe-tofu has shown how Indonesia's food supply chain needs to be upgraded to create better resilience. In 2019, soybean imports from a number of countries amounted to 2,67 million tons or USD 1,06 million. It is estimated that the demand for soybean imports in 2021, both to meet consumption and production needs (including for Tempeh raw materials) is 2,6 million tons. Not a small number.
The strike comes as a form of protest to the increasing price of soybean, the basic ingredient of Tempe and tofu, which was first created by the people of Central Java and has been commonly consumed in Indonesia since the 1700s. Currently there are more than 100,000 Tempe producers in the various provinces in Indonesia. That's just from the "Tempe" side, excluding tofu producers. Both Tempe and tofu are mostly MSMEs and form an important food staple for Indonesians, reported to contribute minimal 10% of the total daily protein intake.
There are generally 15 types of Tempe and 10 types of tofu commonly consumed in Indonesia. For Tempe, there is Tempe Kedelai, Tempe Bongkrek, Tempe Gembus or Menjos, Tempe Koro Pedang, Tempe Kecipir, Tempe Kacang Hijau or Kacang Merah, Tempe Menjes, Tempe Lamtoro, Tempe Lupin, Tempe Munggur, Tempe Kara Kratok, Tempe Karet, Tempe Gude, Tempe Bungkil and Tempe Daun Singkong. Where as for Tofu, there is the most popular and commonly consumed Tahu Putih, followed by Tahu Pong, Tahu Sutera, Tahu Kuning or Tahu Takwa, Tahu Cokelat, Tahu Sumedang, Tahu Air, Tahu Susu, Tahu Bandung, and Tahu Bulat.
Being a valuable and affordable protein food source for many Indonesians for centuries, while globally recognized as a healthy food option, the supply chain of Tempe and Tofu has many stages. Any stagnation or issue not only disrupts the supply chain cycle, but impacts the market's economy. Which means sustainability of the whole supply chain and the role of supply chain finance is vital. More so, as time is of essence, there needs to be a push towards supply chain technology collaboration. Simply put, the flow of goods, stock and the funding to ensure that there remains a continuous stream in the Tempe and Tofu supply chain is fundamental. Safeguarding it ensures national security, stability and market confidence.
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