More than 30,000 Balinese farmers have left their jobs on the land in the past 12 months, according to figures released last week by the government statistics agency, with officials saying the increasing demands of the tourism industry on both water and land are likely behind the decline.
Head of the Bali branch of the Central Statistics Body (BPS) Gde Suarsa said there were currently 643,029 farmers out of Bali’s total 3.8 million population.
“Last year, the number of farmers was still at 673,928,” he said, adding that agriculture accounted for 28.45 of the island’s workforce.
Suarsa said the increasing pressures on land resources from new tourism developments and villa projects were taking more and more former agricultural land out of use, especially in the south of Bali.
He said some farmers forced off their land did find other jobs in hospitality, as reflected by rising levels of employment in the tourism sector.
“The number of workers in the accommodation and restaurant sector is now 620,045, which is up compared to the 472,840 counted in 2010,” he said.
Figures from the Bali Agriculture Department show a year on year drop in rice production in the island, as land falls out of agricultural use. During 2010 6,479 hectares of land in Bali ceased to be used for farming, with much of it being given over to tourism developments.