In the IFP introduction week, a day is also reserved for individual programs. Some played soccer on the beach of Seminyak, others went to Kuta to enjoy real surfer waves. After the last sun rays were caught, we prepared for a discussion to reflect on the experiences we had so far on Bali. Michael and Harald provided a set of pictures, consisting of shots taken during the previous days and lecture slides discussed in class. The message the pictures combined were presenting was quite provoking.
The rice field story of a local guide from Ubud brought up some thoughts about the cycle of capitalist accumulation. The demand for a hotel or resort with a view on the rice fields keeps growing and investors fulfil this demand, at the cost of actual rice fields. Local owners of land are manipulated into selling it for a nice earning. If this continues, will there be any hotels with rice terrace view at all?
However, the tour guide provided an inspiring example of how local farmers can maintain rice fields by working together. Since they were cooperating it was less attractive to sell the land, which is getting more valuable because of the beauty and the attention it gets from tourists.
It raised the question: in what state will the rice fields be if the value the local owners get from keeping it is actually lower than what they can receive by selling them to business men? Furthermore, it got me thinking about how this rice field maintenance in Ubud might be a good example for community involvement in agriculture on Flores, where we will research the value chain on fresh foods.
Written by: Juultje Blom