‘Subak’ farming world-heritage

The sprawling, terraced expanse of Jatiluwih in Tabanan, Bali, employs the traditional subak irrigation system, and is one of indonesia's nominations for UNESCO World Heritage Site designation-(JP/WASTI ATMODJO)

A traditional farming and irrigation system used in Bali has become world-heritage listed by UNESCO, an official revealed on Sunday.

“The subak tradition of Bali has eventually been named as a UNESCO world-heritage activity,” Education and Culture Deputy Minister Windu Nuryanti said in a text message to Antara news agency on Sunday.

Windu said the decision to list subak was made during a meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday.

According to Windu, the Indonesian government has been undergoing a long administrative process for up to 12 years to get subak recognized.

Subak has been a central pillar of Balinese society and culture. Balinese farmers succeeded in not only creating an efficient and ecologically sustainable rice-growing culture but also in producing one of the most esthetic bodies of art and culture in the world.

Over the years, however, the subak system has been threatened by the rapidly growing tourism industry in the resort island.

It is estimated that up to 1,000 hectares of rice paddies are converted into housing and tourist facilities annually, while the lucrative tourism industry has risen to become the economic backbone of the island, pushing aside the once-powerful agriculture sector. (dmr)

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