News / Asia

    La Nina Creates Concerns About Indonesia's Harvest

    An aerial survey mission by Greenpeace over Sumatra island shows how La Nina played a big role in decreasing agricultural output and caused flooding across Indonesia that also reduced production of some crops, Tangerang, west of Jakarta, 16 Oct. 2010
    An aerial survey mission by Greenpeace over Sumatra island shows how La Nina played a big role in decreasing agricultural output and caused flooding across Indonesia that also reduced production of some crops, Tangerang, west of Jakarta, 16 Oct. 2010

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Solenn Honorine

    The rainy season officially started in Indonesia a few weeks ago, but many here would say that this year, it never really ended. Summer has been unusually wet, and since September heavy downpours take a toll on crops. With so much rain damaging harvests, Indonesia faces new concerns about food security.

    Damaged crops

    Cino Wawan sits in front of crates overflowing with cabbages. He grabs the vegetables one by one, and rips off damp, dead leaves.

    Cino says that he has to peel off two layers of rotten leaves for the cabbages to look appealing enough to be sold. When the weather is not as bad as it has been in the past few months, he only gets rid of one dirty layer.

    Soaring prices

    It is not only more work, it also means that he cannot get a good price for the vegetables.

    This is bad news for the 325 farmers who sell their crops through the Mitra Tani Parahyangan cooperative here.

    Another young man arrives on a motorbike, a large bag precariously resting on his lap.

    This is Epis, who, like many farmers on the fertile island of Java, makes a living on a small, 1.5 hectare, plot of land. He grows a little bit of rice, some tomatoes and the banana flowers he came to sell.

    He says that if it rains too much his income will take a beating. Some of his crop will rot; tomatoes will take too long to ripen; and young banana trees might even drown.

    Effects of La Nina

    The problem is the weather pattern known as La Nina. It is the reverse of the El Nino, which typically brings drought to Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia and Australia.

    La Nina brings cooler-than-usual sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, which usually triggers heavy rains in Southeast Asia.

    Excessive downpours in normally dry areas

    Its effects vary throughout the Indonesian archipelago, and even though some normally dry areas may benefit from more rains, the climatology agency warns that Java island, the country's rice basket, will see excessive downpours this year.

    Officials expect the heavy rains to reduce the rice, palm oil, coffee cocoa, and rubber harvests. And the bad weather could slow down extraction of commodities such as tin and coal.

    The Indonesian government already is preparing for a bad harvest. Even though the country in recent years has exported rice, the state logistics agency imported rice this month for the first time in three years.

    Benni Sormin is the assistant representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Jakarta. He says buying rice was prudent since La Nina is expected to last for four to six more months. Benni  said, "I think that is why the government took what is, to me, a wise decision because if you have any chance to buy cheaper rice, why don't you do it?"

    Ujang Majudin, the president of the Mitra Tani Parahyangan cooperative, crosses the large barn where three people load corn into large green crates. There is no cold room to store the crop, and with such damp weather, fruits and vegetables can rot in a couple of days.

    Experts warn of disruption

    Agriculture experts say that because this year will be wetter, farmers might not have enough sunshine to dry grain. And too many storms can disrupt work in the fields, and damage roads, making it hard to get crops to market.

    Ujang Majudin is worried. He says that he expects the cooperative to produce about half the normal amount of rice, fruit and vegetables. And even though prices have started to rise due to diminishing supply, he predicts a tough time ahead for the workers and their families.

    Ujang says that he fears the whole country faces hard times.

    Already the bad weather has exacted a toll: flashfloods killed over 100 people in Papua recently, and floods sent families scrambling for shelter in the capital Jakarta. High waves render navigation dangerous throughout the archipelago, and dengue fever is spreading because all the water means mosquitoes thrive.

    The Indonesian disaster management agency has already warned of possible disasters, such as landslides, linked to the heavy rains and has been put on alert.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora