ACTNews, BEKASI - Erik Setiawan, a member of the youth organization in Ridogalih Village, Cibarusah, Bekasi Regency, showed us the barren rice fields in his village. The rice cannot fully develop and be harvested due to lack of water. Since the drought hit, the farmers have abandoned their land.
Hectares of rice fields in Ridogalih Village are now nothing but cracked soil with rice plantations that have been partially harvested early. The farmers choose to harvest the rice earlier even though the quality is not good enough rather than having to lose it all without any results.
On Wednesday (7/24), Erik showed Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) team one of the abandoned rice fields that still have some unharvested rice left. The crop was quite fruitful, but the grain does not contain rice because there was no water supply for the fields.
"Rice cannot live if there is no water. Some of the rice plants have been fruitful, but not perfect. They were harvested earlier by the farmers. Some of them were abandoned because the husks contain no rice," Erik explained.
The river that flowed through the rice fields is now dry, only filled with the leaves of the bamboo that grow on its banks. They can’t dig agricultural wells because the ground water is difficult to extract. As a result, the farmers have to find other jobs. Many of them choose to work as construction workers or sand miners.
The drought in Cibarusah has been going on for at least four months. The rice fields in Cibarusah were previously fertile during the rainy season. Now they are abandoned. "The drought affects many things in this village, from basic needs, employment, to the economy," Erik said.