The Balinese

Essay by mchachUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, March 2004

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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...