Subak’s Sustainability Depends on Farmers

State Udayana University professor Dr. I Wayan Windia said the sustainability of the traditional “subak” irrigation system in Bali would depend on farmers’ support and participation.

“If the farmers are satisfied with it and hope to earn their livelihood from the agricultural sector, subak should be preserved as an integral part of Balinese cultural heritage,” Prof Windia, who is also the chairman of the university’s Subak Research Center, stated here on Friday.

He noted that subak, which has been in existence for the past 11 centuries, has now been recognized as part of the world’s cultural heritage. UNESCO has recognized subak as a cultural heritage icon as it is specific to Bali.

“It is a remarkable achievement,” he added.

Prof Windia called on the government and other concerned parties to support its preservation so that it will continue being recognized as a world heritage icon.

“If this is not done, we will lose an important part of Balinese culture, and this will affect all economic sectors in the region,” he remarked.

He said this would happen because the performance of all economic sectors in Bali, especially tourism, depended on the popularity of the local culture.

He expressed concern that tourism had started cannibalizing the agricultural sector since it had grown far beyond the island’s capacity.

According to a SCETO (Societe Centrale pour l’equpeent Touristique Ouetre-Mer) study in 1985, Bali was only capable of accommodating 24 thousand star-rated hotel rooms, but now the number of international hotel rooms had reached 80 thousand, he added.

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