Rice Farming in Bali

Organic Production and Marketing Challenges

Author: Graeme MacRae


All is not well with agriculture in Southeast Asia. The productivity gains of the Green Revolution have slowed and even reversed and environmental problems and shortages of water and land are evident. At the same time changing world markets are shifting the dynamics of national agricultural economies. But from the point of view of farmers themselves, it is their season-to-season economic survival that is at stake. Bali is in some ways typical of other agricultural areas in the region, but it is also a special case because of its distinctive economic and cultural environment dominated by tourism. In this environment, farmers are doubly marginalized. At the same time the island offers them unique market opportunities for premium and organic produce. This article examines the ways in which these opportunities have been approached and describes their varying degrees of success. It focuses especially on one project that has been successful in reducing production costs by conversion to organic production, but less so in marketing its produce. It argues finally for the need for integrated studies of the entire rice production/marketing complex, especially from the bottom-up point of view of farmers.

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© E.D. Starin