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Capricious Climate in Indonesia Adds to Farmers’ Wo

Java's rice fields reverberate with the activities of farmers from dawn to dusk. But there is a pervading concern amongst the lot, for the climate// has not been on their side to assist them with good yields. Some farmers feel the weather has also turned capricious. Indonesia’s rice farming had continued undisturbed for generations, even in the face of war or economic disturbances. But now, it appears that something odd has struck Indonesia.

According to one farmer, "The harvests have become irregular. Normally we harvest two to three times a year, but it depends on the weather. We need to wait for the right conditions, but now that's become unpredictable."

Even today, many farmers are harvesting their crops in anticipation of the first few showers. But this year, they were in for a rude shock. The heavy rains were a wet blanket and all crops got washed away.

Scientists do not know how much of this can be attributed to climatic change. But the really affected, do not have a clue what climatic change means to them.

One farmer said, "We weren't told about climate change and the only news we received from local officials is that a flood like this will happen every five years. I don't understand climate change, but I do know that a big flood will come every five years."

Senior adviser to Indonesia's environment minister said, "Climate change is caused by global warming and the thinning of the ozone layer. I think that caused the shift of weather patterns on earth."

Indonesia is facing the onslaught of rising sea levels and climatic change. Rather than it being pursued as an International issue, it should be taken up as priority by the decision makers, planners and the people who can actually make things happen in this nation. /M

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