|Thank you for your responses to what I wrote about the human birth rate, and how it relates to the earth’s natural resources.
We work, day to day, with a crew of friendly, inquisitive, and resourceful Indonesian people here in Tasmania. Sumardi, Eldi, Wahyu, Asep Darsono and others have become real friends, especially of my teenage son, Justin. What is it that lets us work one with another in such understanding and peace? Right from the start, both they and we discovered that Indonesians and Hutterites operate along the same work ethic: Use what you have, think, and stick to it.
I am not aware of any inhabited part of the earth where ingenuity, thrift, and perseverance do not provide for one’s needs, under the blessing of God. One of my favourite co-workers here at the mill is a cheerful young man, Raharjo, who lives here with his wife, Saria. He can only speak a few words of English, but Saria (who knows a good bit more) tells me they were rice farmers from Yogyakarta on the island of Java.
Java -- a place that should be making the news, but isn’t.
Over 130,000,000 people on an island the size of North Carolina. That is, well over one thou-sand people per square kilometre. Go look at it on Google Earth and you will get the picture. Yet what is Java doing? Crying the blues and begging for hand-outs?
Let me tell you what Java is doing.
Javanese farmers, like Raharjo’s father and brothers, not only produce enough on their tiny prop-erties (largely with hand or animal labour, or locally built implements like on the picture above) to feed themselves. They produce an amazing surplus and are getting better at it all the time.
This was last year’s report, and this year, in spite of climactic challenges, looks like it will be no different:
Indonesia Expects Rice Surplus of 3.5 Million Tons for 2009
The output of unhusked rice paddy this year is expected to reach 63.84 million tons, a 5.83 percent increase over last year, indicating that the El Nino climate pattern would have limited impact on rice production, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) announced on Monday.
Sutarto Alimoeso, the director general of crops at the Ministry of Agriculture, said that with the increased output the ministry expected to reach a rice surplus this year. “We will have a surplus of 3.5 million tons of rice this year with the increase,” Sutarto said on Monday in Jakarta.
The increase is in line with the national 4.18 percent increase in paddy planting areas — an additional 515,310 hectares — and a 1.57 percent increase in productivity. The output increase occurred in most rice producing areas of Java, Lampung, South Sumatra, and South Sulawesi.
Sutarto said the rice output in 2009 has yet to be affected by the El Nino climate pattern, which normally caused droughts here — hurting paddy planting. However, looking ahead to 2010, the government expects the El Nino phenomenon to cause a delay in planting in some areas, including in West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara and some parts of West Java.
“In those areas, the planting season is expected to be delayed by about 10 to 20 days,” Sutarto said. “However, with the right treatments such as the use of high-quality seedlings, I hope the delay will not badly impact total output in 2010.”
* * * * * * * * *
Back to Tasmania. When we settled on this sandy coastal property a number of years ago many told us we would not be able to raise much to feed ourselves. Some suggested we get our soil tested and consult the experts. One man directed me to an Internet site, that has links to hundreds of gardening pages. “That would be a good place to start,” he told me seriously.
What did we do? We cleared off the brush. We put on lime and chicken manure. We worked together, and this year we had so much food we didn’t know what to do with it all. We filled our freezers, loaded our shelves with preserves, sold thousands of dollars worth, and ended up just giving the rest away.
We cannot thank God enough for his blessing.
Quit talking of over-population, get to work, and He will bless you too!