Severe dry conditions in Indonesia’s Java hampers seasonal rice production and threatens an increase in prices. Julie Noce reports.
Drought wrecks havoc on Indonesian rice planting
Male villagers in central Java in Indonesia battle each other with wooden staves. Female villagers prepare and share food as a symbol of gratitude to their maker.
It’s all part of a ritual called Ujungan which is meant to induce rain.
This year’s severe drought is wrecking havoc on the country’s rice-growing industry.
Kusyati is the head of the village.
(SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) HEAD OF KALISARI VILLAGE, KUSYATI, SAYING:
“We are very worried as the dry season has become longer. As of now, all the land in this village is dry and uncultivated, we are waiting until rain comes then we will start to plant our paddy fields.”
A drought caused by the El Nino weather pattern, which scientists say could be the worst on record, means fields are fallow weeks after they would normally be sown.
According to the World Bank if there is a harsh El Nino this year rice production could drop by 2.1 million tonnes which would increase prices by 10.2 percent.
That price rise will hit the poor hardest because they spend more of their income on food than the well off.
Twenty of Indonesia’s 34 provinces are currently stricken by severe drought.