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Jakarta Post

Workers turn to farming as job market dries up

  • Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman

    Jakarta

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Jakarta   /   Tue, February 23 2021   /  01:00 am
A farmer plows rice fields using the help of two buffaloes on agricultural land near a rest area of the Bawean-Salatiga toll road in Central Java on Nov. 2, 2020. Ahead of the rainy season, farmers have begun preparing for the next crop of rice. JP/PJ Leo(JP/P.J. Leo)

Business owner-turned-farmer Ijon Purba, 33, closed his small coffee shop in Medan, North Sumatra, early last year to plow the earth of his hometown, Liang Pematang village, in neighboring Deli Serdang regency, amid the pandemic. Medan’s mobility restrictions prevented customers from visiting his 1-year-old shop, forcing him back to his village, where he has been farming coffee beans and shallots on less than half a hectare of land to make ends meet for his family. “Laborers and professionals in cities were not the only ones who suffered from the economic downturn; coffee sellers also faced a very bad threat,” Ijon told The Jakarta Post in a phone interview on Thursday. "I still have the option of running my shop, but I think I'm choosing to concentrate on the plantation." Ijon is among the 2.77 million Indonesians who joined the country’...