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Jakarta Post

Sarad Sapi, a tradition on teakwood harvest time

Mon, June 17, 2019   /   06:12 pm
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    A handler directs two oxen as they pull teakwood with a plow. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    A villager helps cut up teakwood at the Blora forest. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    Eight men load teakwood onto a motorcycle. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    Villagers work together to push teak lumber. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    Apart from using cows, villagers also use a motorcycle to load teakwood. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    A plantation worker leads a pair of oxen hauling a large teakwood log. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

Sigit Pamungkas

Sarad comes from the Javanese word seret (rough, not smooth) and has been adopted into the Indonesian language. The meaning has changed to dragging or pulling something.

Sarad sapi (cow-drawn plow) is a method widely used when harvesting teakwood in Blora, Central Java. The tradition started during the Dutch colonial era and was maintained even after Indonesia declared its independence in 1945 because of its usefulness.

The Blora forest’s management team has long utilized the method with the help of surrounding residents, especially those who own cows or oxen. Each plow, which is pulled by two animals, is fastened with a chain that is then wrapped around a piece of lumber.

The area is not easily accessible by trucks, so the forest management uses the sarad sapi method instead of vehicles to transport timber during harvesting season.

Blora is known for producing the best-quality teakwood in Indonesia. Every year, the management can harvest teakwood that is more than 70 years old. Surrounding villagers have been helpful in allowing the forest management to rent their cows to pull the teakwood. [yan]