Govt Encourages More Rice Farming

DENPASAR (BT) ~ The government is encouraging farmers in Denpasar to keep on growing rice despite a yawning lack of interest from the younger generation, officials said.

Rice farming in Denpasar has grown less popular due to a lack of land since more areas have been developed for housing facilities, said Deputy Mayor Ida Bagus Rai Dharmawijaya Mantra.

According to Mantra, the tourism industry has brought a change into the way of life of Balinese society, which stems from traditional villages, where farming has been the main system of values.

In order to encourage farming, Mantra opened a subak (farm group) competition in Denpasar participated in by nine teams from all over Bali.

“By holding the competition, we expect the farmers to keep on farming to improve their welfare,” he said.

Government farming office official Ketut Sukrena said the competition would grade the technical methods of farming, the religious value and the involvement of all members of the subak.

Currently, said Sukrena, there are 41 Subak in Denpasar, with an average 160 farmers per group.

“Today more people are farming as a side job, because they can only earn small amounts compared the increased price of fertilizer,” said Sukrena.

“Farmers harvest on average three times a year, with the price for rice is around Rp1,300 (13 US cents) per kilogram,” said Sukrena, adding that 1 hectare of land generally produced nine tons of rice. (RD)

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