From Growing Food to Growing Cash: Understanding the Drivers of Food Choice in the Context of Rapid Agrarian Change in Indonesia 



Indonesia has been undergoing rapid changes on many fronts in the last two decades – accelerated economic development, dramatic land use change, and dietary changes resulting in new health and nutrition burdens. A key driver of these changes in rural areas is a transition away from traditional agriculture to oil palm production. The rapid expansion of oil palm has drawn attention from conservationists for its environmental impacts, but it is also changing local food systems and food environments. In the face of rapid change and potential loss of positive dietary traditions, it is essential to understand how changes from traditional to commercial agriculture are affecting the food choices of farmers in rural Indonesia. The aim of this project is to provide the research community, local communities, policy makers, and international donors with evidence that can be used to help create a food environment that is more conducive to healthier food choices in rural Indonesia. The project will be carried out in two sites in Indonesia that are undergoing this process of transformation. We will collect both qualitative and quantitative data to investigate the impacts of agrarian transitions on diets of mothers and children in rural Indonesia. The research findings will be used to make recommendations to inform more nutrition-sensitive decisions at national, local, industry, and household levels.  


Lead Institution 

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) 


Collaborating Institutions

Pennsylvania State University, USA 

University of Brawijaya, East Java, Indonesia 


Principal Investigator(s) 

> Amy Ickowitz, PhD, Senior Scientist, Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia 



> Bronwen Powell, PhD, Assistant Professor of Geography and African Studies, Penn State University 

> Ratna Purwestri, Dr.Sc.Agr., Postdocotoral Researcher, Institute of Biological, Chemistry and Nutrition University of  Hohenheim, Germany and Researcher at University of Brawijaya, East Java, Indonesia  

> Nia Novita, MSC, Lecturer of Nutrition at University of Brawijaya, East Java, Indonesia 

> Edy Waliyo, MSC, Head of Nutrition, Health Polytechnic Pontianak, Nutrition Department 

> Maxianus K. Raya, MSC, Senior Nutritionist, Health Polytechnic Jayapura, Nutrition Department