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12/24/2007

Farmers told to watch the weather closely

Indonesia
Climate Warning
The government has warned farmers of extreme weather events in regards to climate change. The government has told farmers to be more "creative" to grasp weather patterns that are predicted to become more extreme. "The toughest work for our farmers now is how to adapt to unpredictable weather changes. Long-standing traditional crop cycle systems may no longer be practicable." In the short term - over the next year, until 2009 - the adaptation effort is focused on gathering data on areas vulnerable to droughts or floods, including information on dry and wet seasons. The information is to be distributed to farmers as a guideline to help in re-mapping weather patterns, agricultural seasons and crop cycles. In the medium-term - through 2012 - the plan will see the government create and evaluate an early warning system for drought. In the long term, the government is set to analyze weather anomalies and be able to better predict planting seasons and adjust crop cycles. Just exactly what farmers should expect - of course - the government can't say. However changes in rainfall and drought, they are told, will seriously impact agriculture. In the 1990s, the ministry of agriculture reported an average harvest failure of 100,000 tons per regency across the country due to drought. The failure rate has been around 300,000 tons per regency since 2000. Farmers have repeatedly ben urged to plant crops other than rice - such as corn and soybeans - especially in the dry season, due to the water-intensive nature of rice farming. Currently, most farmers plant rice in both dry and wet seasons.
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