Ship Balinese Farmers to Borneo Jungle, Says Jobs Chief
Environmental pressures and changing land use means that Bali is no longer suitable for agricultural development, and farmers should consider emigrating to other parts of the archipelago, according to an industry chief.
Speaking in Renon, Denpasar, the head of the Indonesian Employers Association (APINDO) in Bali, Panundiana Khun, described the island as “unsuitable for agriculture.” He suggested that the government should impose encouraged transmigration programs on farmers.
Indonesia’s controversial transmigration policy began under Dutch colonial rule, and continued into the second half of the 20th Century, with poor residents from densely populated Java and Bali shipped out to less developed parts of Indonesia, particularly Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Indonesian section of the island of Borneo. Transmigration has been associated with environmental problems and social strife in the past.
“If they (Balinese farmers) are only working as sharecroppers, then why not ship them out to Kalimantan? Over there a hectare of jungle only costs Rp2 million (US$224). You might as well give it to them for free,” Khun said, adding that transmigrant populations accounted for most of the inhabitants of Kalimantan.
“Locals only make up about 30 percent of the population,” he said.
Khun said that some continued agricultural activities would always be necessary in Bali, but only in the interests of tourism. Traditional agricultural landscapes were one of Bali’s tourism assets, he said.Filed under: Headlines