Bali Facing Food Crisis, Warn Experts
Rice production is continuing to decline and the authorities should stockpile supplies to prevent food shortages, officials have said.
The chairman of the Indonesian Farmers’ Harmony Association (HKTI) in Bali, Nyoman Suparta said that Bali’s rice production figures were currently declining by an average of 2160 tons per year. He said that the decline was caused by a combination of land conversion and damage to traditional irrigation networks.
“The Balinese traditional irrigation system known as subak is continuing to suffer damage and so rice production continues to decline,” he said.
He said that while Bali retained some of Indonesia’s best quality agricultural land, action needed to be taken to preserve it for the future.
Meanwhile, Professor Dewa Ngurah Suprapta of Udayana University has called on the provincial government to stockpile food supplies to reduce Bali’s reliance on imports.
“We should make reserves at the village, district and regency levels,” he said, adding that this would be a return to traditional methods where each village stockpiled its own rice supply ahead of lean months.
Suprapta said that Bali was increasingly reliant on imports from other parts of Indonesia.
“Harvested crops continue to decrease. On the other hand, technology doesn’t show any improvement, therefore, building a food reserve is necessary because Bali has lagged behind in food processing technology,” he said.
Around 82,000 hectares of land in Bali is currently used for crops, and the provincial authorities are currently drafting a bylaw to prevent its conversion to other uses.
Putra Suryawan of the Bali Agriculture Department said the bylaw had not yet been approved, but it was hoped that it would help prevent further land conversion.
Between 1997 and 2007 Bali lost an average of 661 hectares of agricultural land each year, with most being converted to tourism and development use. Current conversion rates are estimated at around 1000 hectares a year
Most existing farmland is in Tabanan, Gianyar and Badung.Filed under: Headlines