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Jakarta Post

Rice farmers in Indonesia dodge El Nino

  • Ayomi Amindoni

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 21, 2016   /  09:36 pm
Rice farmers in Indonesia dodge El Nino Roodymanche Lomane plants potatoes in his small vegetable plot, in Oriani, Haiti, on Feb. 15. A strong El Nino weather phenomenon has been disrupting weather patterns across the globe, leaving many places in Latin America and the Caribbean ravaged by drought. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery) (Associated Press/Dieu Nalio Chery)

Ayomi Amindoni

The El Nino weather pattern, known to trigger an extension to the dry season, is reported to have had limited impact on Indonesia's rice production. The nation’s harvest area and rice productivity per hectare increased by 2.31 percent and 3.97 percent respectively last year.

According to a preliminary Central Statistics Agency (BPS) report, rice production in Indonesia reached 75.36 million tons last year, an increase of 4.51 million tons or 6.37 percent from the 70.85 million tons reported during the 2014 harvest.

"The productivity of rice crops increased by 2.04 quintal per hectare or 3.97 percent compared to that of in 2014," BPS head Suryamin announced during a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday.

In addition, the harvest area rose 320,000 hectares (ha), an increase of 2.31 percent compared to the 2014 harvest area.

The jump in rice production was mostly due to an increase in production between May to August, following the increase to harvest area between January and April, which reached 505,410 ha, he explained.

El Nino, according to the  Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) report, started in March, rose in August and peaked to extremes in October and November.

"When the intensity of El Nino began to strengthen, rice that had been planted from May to August was already in its growth phase, a period which does not necessarily require a lot of water," Suryamin told reporters.

However, the impact of El Nino on rice production between September and December was apparent, compacted by a 4.08 percent year-on-year decrease in harvest area during the period, down to 128,100 hectares.

Meanwhile, corn production rose by 600,000 tons or 3.17 percent to 19.61 million tons last year, despite a decrease in harvest area, by 1.31 percent or 50,200 ha. Corn production stood at 19.01 million tons in 2014.

"Productivity rose 2.25 quintals per ha, up by 4.54 percent,” Suryamin said.

Soybean production amounted to 963,100 tons last year, an increase of 8,100 tons compared to 955,000 tons in 2014. Seeing productivity up 1.16 percent or 0.18 quintals per hectare, the harvest area shrank 1,800 ha, 0.29 percent. (ags)