Governor Made Mangku Pastika says the diminishing desire to work in agriculture in Bali stems from the view that farming is the work of low-caste individuals.
Quoted in Beritabali.com, Pastika said: “In terms of social psychology, being a farmer is considered lacking in prestige; work done by the lowest members of society – the Sudra caste, the lowest of the low. At this time there are no children of farmers who aspire to become farmers. Those who graduate from the agricultural faculty don’t wish to become farmers, but want to become the head of the local agricultural service. The farmers in Bali are now old people.”
The governors’ comments were made on December 4, 2011.
To overcome the diminishing prestige of a career in farming, the governor has introduced the Simantri program – an integrated program to make technological innovation in agriculture available to Bali’s farmers to even those living in remote villages.
“This program allows us to give farmers appropriate farming technology that will maximize productivity and enhance quality. In this way, the prestige of working as a farmer will be lifted – the Sudra caste will elevated,” explained Pastika.
In addition to introducing integrated farming methods to Bali’s agricultural caste, Pastika said a change of mindset is also needed among the island’s younger generation.
“The mindset must be changed. There must be added value given to farmers such as subsidies, training, partnering and alike. Agriculture in Bali must thrive; there must be Balinese who become farmers because agriculture is the basis of Bali’s culture. Bali tourism is cultural tourism – a culture that lives and breathes a Hinduism that is agrarian. The farmers continue to exist, for this reason we need to persuade the younger generation to become farmers.”
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