seaweed farmer


I Wayan Mawan, 31, is a seaweed farmer from Kampial village in Nusa Dua. He lives with his wife, Wayan Ardiani, 20, and their 7-month-old son Widia Adnyana. Wayan shared his day with The Bali Times

I usually wake up at 5am. My breakfast is a cup of coffee. Prior to leaving for the farm, I check and clean my equipment, pack food and water. Often my wife and child accompany me. My father used to help me in my work. It’s been two years now since he fell ill, though, and was unable to work on the farm.

It takes me about 10 minutes to reach the seaweed field at Geger Beach in Nusa Dua. As there are no buildings here, we’re allowed to use the land free of charge by the owner, which is the nearby village.

About 120 seaweed farmers work alongside me. Each farmer has been given 10 acres of land for seaweed farming without any charge. ut we have pay a small fee for the use of the pondokan, a temporary shelter in which we store our equipment, harvest of seaweed and a place to relax during the day. For the use of a pondokan we pay Rp 250,000 (US$27.14) per year.

I became a seaweed farmer about eight years ago, when a friend of mine suggested we work together on the farm. I have realised that I earn more money and have to spend less time than working on other crops. Before this I grew cassava and had to work long hours but didn’t get the financial return that I do from seaweed farming.

My work includes preparing the land for the planting of new seaweed, drying the seaweed after harvesting, daily inspection of the farm to check for insects and any damage. After harvesting I grade the seaweed according to variety and color. Besides being the favorite food of the Balinese, seaweed is also used in cosmetics.

I return home at 6pm and after resting for a while I clean my equipment. By doing this it reduces my workload the next day.

I enjoy my work at the seaweed farm as my wife and son accompany me. I introduced him to the beach when he was a baby and he just loves it.

My family have dinner at 8pm, and an hour later we’re in bed.

I enjoy my life as a seaweed farmer and hope that I can continue doing it as it brings in enough money to support the family.

What disturbs me is the fact that land developers have asked us to move from the area, even though the owners of the land and pondokans have no objection to us being here.

The developers feel the pondokans built on the land are an eyesore. Some developers have managed to drive away some seaweed farmers so that they can build their luxury villas. I strongly hope that the government will step in to help protect the seaweed farmers.

Filed under: One Day

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