The Balinese Essay

1140 words - 5 pages

The people of Bali rely greatly on the production of rice as their means of survival. Rice farmers depended on water temples to set their irrigation schedules throughout the year. With the rapid growth in population throughout Bali the government implemented a new agricultural policy called the Green Revolution. This new policy has put an end to the use of water temples for setting up irrigation schedules. The Green Revolution introduced new high yielding varieties of rice, which could be grown on a continuous basis. The continuous cropping that was brought on by the Green Revolution has caused many water shortages and introduced many new pests and diseases throughout Bali. Those farmers that did not follow the new agricultural policy faced legal sanctions by the government. I shall argue that the implementation of the Green Revolution has forced many Balinese to escape their highly productive system of agriculture and adopt a strategy that would be damaging to their economy.Before the introduction of the Green Revolution rice production in Bali relied greatly on water temples to regulate the irrigation schedule. Water temples have been a part of Balinese tradition for hundreds of years; they have served both a practical and religious role for the people of Bali (Lansing, 1995: 75). The traditional system of irrigation through water temples was most effective in regulating the flow of water to each cropping sight, as well as minimizing the amount of pests throughout the year. However, when the Green Revolution was implemented farmers experienced many water shortages and a number of new pests and diseases (Ibid.). The new problems that the farmers faced were a direct result of the new varieties of rice, as well as the irrigation methods imposed by the Revolution. Many Farmers claimed that "the policy of continuous rice cropping had failed to increase harvests, because it made the water supply too unpredictable and led to increasing losses from pests" (Lansing, 1995: 75). It is not very surprising that many farmers wanted to escape the Green Revolution and return to the water temple system. However, foreign consultants saw their demands as a religious reaction and resistance to change (Ibid.). Farmers were being forced through the threat of legal sanctions to abide with the government's policy, even though their net losses were continuously greater than their gains. In other words, it is clear that the Balinese government played a determining role in the downfall of their economy.Through the Green Revolution, Balinese farmers were required to replace their native rice with a new high yielding variety of rice. This new variety allowed farmers to continuously plant rice as often as they could. However, the high yielding varieties of rice were dependent upon chemical fertilizers and pesticides for their growth (Lansing, 1995: 75). While many of the farmers could not afford any pesticide or fertilizers, the government supplied them with a credit while...

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