Thursday, August 30, 2012

Will there be farmers?

I visited the beautiful village of Jatiluwih in Java some years ago. The women were harvesting rice, with the girls assisting. The boys were swimming in a nearby stream, while the men were idling in the shadow of a huge tree - assumingly pondering over important matters....The place has been named a world heritage. The grow organic red rice with traditional methods. They get good yields, some five tons per hectare, and as they take two crops per year, it is a lot. The certified organic rice fetch a nice price. The system is certainly ecologically sustainable and also economically. But it is not socially sustainable because the children prefer to work in the Balinese tourist industry. A more glamorous job, where you can be clean, indoors and comfortable.

A year ago my colleague in Thailand told me that they had to change their strategies for farm development. Before they had propagated composting and other labour intensive methods to increase crop yields and income. But the population is now aging and the old peoples' bodies are tired.

Fred Pearce  has written an interesting post about this:
"Making firm predictions is difficult.  But I suggest that agriculture may face a new food security issue in coming decades.  Never mind the land and water, will there be enough people to work on the farms?" Forget future land and water scarcity, will there be enough farmers?

Aditi Mukherji, a water professional from India just awarded the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application 
notes in an interesting post from Bihar that of 5006 households in three villages 40% do not report any income from agriculture at all. Of the rest 60% of villagers who reported some income from agriculture, only 25% reported it as their most important source of income. Another 35% households said that daily wage earning was their main income source.  "it looks like these villages are indeed ‘villages without agriculture’ or more like, ‘villages without much of agriculture’." she says. 

It would be ironic if we would run out of people to work the land, while we are worrying that land or water will run out...


  1. Jatiluwih Rice Terrace is one the famous tourist destinations in Bali located in Tabanan regency, west part of the island offering the beautiful scenery of rice terrace with fresh atmosphere surround it. It is equal with its named of Jatiluwih where it is derived from two words ’Jati and Luwih’. Jati means real and Luwih means good or beautiful. The breathtaking panorama of rice terrace with mount Batukaru as backdrop is categorized as the most interesting scenery natures. It has been appointed as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in particular of Subak Organization as a fundamental of the local society life. The varieties of local rice planted in this area are very specific with the size of rice tree that are relatively higher than the normal rice planted in other area in Bali.
    Jatiluwih Rice Terrace is located on 700 m above sea level with fresh and cool temperatures surround it. Beside of the nature potential, Jatiluwih is also has culture potential in particular to the farmer temple building that is related to the power of the famous king of Ida Dalem Waturenggong in Gegel Palace ( 1460- 1552). This site is easily be fond and can be reach from Denpasar about 48 Km. It is located on the north part Tabanan regency around 28 km. The road is sustainable improved to facilitate every visitor who visits this place, which can be accessed by any vehicle from Pacung Village or Batukaru Temple. Jatiluwih is many visited by foreign tourist who wants to enjoy the beautiful scenery of rice terrace with fresh and cool temperature.
    Jatiluwih Rice Terrace as a tourism object in Bali is actually well known when the Dutch colonialism in this island ( 1910- 1942 ) because in west part of Jatiluwih village the Dutch had build a castle. The government has set the Jatiluwih as rural tourism object in line with tracking more visitors to visit it. It is continuously improved and developed beside of the main asset of the beautiful nature with comfortable atmosphere as well as the stunning view of rice terrace those are all the attractions for tourist to visit it. Jatiluwih is also keep the unique religion ceremony as specially when the temple ceremony at Petani temple on Wednesday Kliwon Ugu (Balinese calendar). According to the local Balinese believes that Petani temple is a center to worship to the God in manifestation as agriculture sovereign. Jatiluwih is also completed by public facilities include parking area, toilet, Bale Bengong for resting and restaurants. The restaurants in this area provide the variety of menus as specialy Indonesian food as well as some drink.

  2. Over a thousand years ago the Balinese used this method to make terraces to plant their rice, and these terraces are called the steps that lead to the gods, since rice is very important part of liffe and religious traditions.
    Planting rice is followed by a ritual and there is also a special day to plant seedlings, and harvest. This ritual is offered to the gods to protect the harvest. Throughout the year, in Bali you can see these terraces, and there is no specific time because they usually get 2 or 3 crops of rice.The most important and also the most visited by tourists who come to the Bali island.


  3. One place you can not miss on your visit to Bali, is the rice terraces.