The Jakarta Post
Experts and members of the Jakarta Research Council (DRD) have urged the city administration to develop a new blueprint to regulate street food vendors in order to achieve more sustainable results.
Food technology expert FG Winarno said in a discussion on Thursday that regulating street vendors required a new approach.
'The issue of street food vendors is a complicated problem. It is also strongly related to health, so it needs a scientific approach to improve the situation,' he said.
Winarno said that the city administration should develop a detailed blueprint to act as a legal basis so that its officials could properly manage street vendors.
He said he had led a street food research project with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) alongside the Dutch government. The project resulted in comprehensive research on Jakarta and six regencies in West Java from 1988 to 1993.
'One of the results revealed that our street food is far from hygienic,' he said, adding that they had found one vendor who had not washed his ice shaver in 15 years.
He said that 90 percent of residents had suffered from food poisoning. 'The food poisoning cases in Indonesia are the highest after cases of common colds,' he said.
He said the vendors should be educated about hygiene. 'It is not easy and it takes years to do that,' he said.
Aida Vitayala Syafri Hubeis, IPB's human resource development expert, also participated the project and said that the city administration should understand the characteristics of street food vendors and develop their regulations accordingly. 'For example, they are usually from a low-level of education, so we need a particular approach,' she said.
Aida noted that her team at the IPB had developed animated educational programs to persuade vendors to serve cleaner and healthier food. 'I need four years to change their attitude,' she said.
Meanwhile, DRD member Susy YR Sanie-Herman said that the city administration should rethink its approach toward street vendors.
Susy said the city administration often considered street vendors, locally known as pedagang kaki lima or PKL, a nuisance. This attitude prompted city administrations to favor relocation programs for street vendors over other possible options. She said relocation often created problems for the vendors who usually had to pay higher rents at the new venue.
Susy said the city administration should be aware that vendors help Jakartans, especially middle and low income workers.
The DRD member concluded that the city administration should see street vendors as public servants.
'The administration should not use a harsh approach,' she said.
She criticized the city administration's spending on military and police to ensure order in the city while offering few if any protections to street vendors.
Susy also said that instead of relocating vendors, it would be better to record their existing venue and then regulate those venues.
'The vendors also need to be certified in order to guarantee the quality of the food,' she said.
Irwandi, head of the Cooperatives, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Trade Agency, attended the discussion and agreed that his efforts to regulate street vendors had been sporadic and disjointed.
'We use two approaches: relocation and eviction,' he said.
The agency recorded that Jakarta had around 56,000 street vendors and the spaces available for them reached just 18,000.
'The 56,000 is just temporary data. The actual number is a lot bigger,' he said.
DRD is an institution of scholars, experts, practitioners and public officials. It is formed by the governor to conduct research on strategic issues.
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