Using forecasts from national and regional El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) models to improve Indonesian food security
El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events have a dominate influence on rice output and markets in Southeast Asia. This paper measures ENSO effects on rice production in Indonesia-nationally and regionally-and on world rice prices using the August sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) as the primary gauge of climate variability. Our estimates show that for each degree (C) change in the August SSTA, there is a 1,318 thousand metric ton effect on paddy production in Indonesia and a $23/metric ton change in the world rice price. Ninety percent of the inter-annual changes in paddy production caused by SSTA variations take place within twelve provinces, with Java and South Sulewesi bearing by far the greatest impact. New data and models now combine to provide Indonesia with opportunities for understanding the effects of ENSO events on agriculture, for forming an early consensus on likely ENSO effects for the coming year, and for using forecasts in ways that permit agencies and individuals to do a more credible job of mitigating negative climate effects on food security. Among other suggestions, we propose that an "ENSO Summit" be held each year, sometime between September 15-30, to analyze the likely food-security implications arising from upcoming climate events.