Dalal: I Work to Repay My Debts Before I Die

At the age of 70, Dalal’s spirit to work as a farmer never relents. It is the only way he can make money to fulfill daily needs and repay his debts.

Dalal pushing his bike to his rice fields. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, SIDOARJO – Despite the wrinkles on his face, Dalal (70) is still strong enough to work his farm. To him, his rice field is his second home. “I spend most of my time in my rice field. I visit my rice field twice a day: from sunrise to midday, and in late afternoon. This is my only job," said Dalal.

He goes to his field every day by bike, pedaling for 1 kilometer from his house where he lives alone. At his age, walking is not an option.

He must prepare a sum of money to finance his farming. Usually, he takes loans from moneylenders. In addition to the lack of capital, he also has to deal with other problems such as the limited amount of fertilizers and the crop failures that often compound his difficulties.

He has suffered two crop failures. His crop was attacked by birds and rats when it was only one month old. Dalal couldn’t do much to deal with the crop failures.

"This is the life of a farmer. When we suffer from crop failures, we incur more debts. Every day, the money lenders came here. I have no other ways to find the capital to run my farm. We farmers need quick money especially during planting season, and they do provide us with money instantly. If we don’t have money at the moment, we’ll miss the opportunity to plant our farms,” said Dalal.

Despite the challenges, Dalal never stops cultivating his farm. "It would be a shame if I stop working my farm even though I don’t know if it will yield much rice. What’s important to me is to keep working so I can repay my debts before I die,” Dalal concluded.

To help ease Dalal’s difficulties, Global Wakaf - ACT provided capital assistance through the Productive Rice Field Waqf Program. He hoped that the capital assistance program initiated by Global Wakaf – ACT and Yayasan Penguatan Peran Petani Indonesia (YP3I) free farmers from interest-bearing debts from the moneylenders.

Productive Rice Field Waqf is part of the National Food Alms Movement which aims to strengthen the country's food sovereignty. By empowering farmers, they can produce rice that can benefit the wider community. []