MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Banful Paddy Farmers Switch to Sand Mining

Published by MAC on 2007-01-22

Banful Paddy Farmers Switch to Sand Mining

By Slamet Susanto, Bantul, The Jakarta Post

22nd January 2007

Farmers in southern coastal areas of Bantul, Yogyakarta, are abandoning their traditional ways of rice paddy planting and are turning to sand mining. Many Bantul farmers have begun excavating their rice fields in search of sand. This practice has proved more profitable than rice growing.

Rice fields along the Opak River in Sanden and Kretek districts are dotted with holes, the result of farmers digging some 50 centimeters before hitting sand. This new practice has raised fears the land will no longer be fit to grow rice.

"We mine sand as much as we can," said Rintono, a sand miner from Srigading village in Sanden.
Increased demand for sand for use in Yogyakarta's reconstruction efforts following the May 27 earthquake was what initially prompted farmers to adopt sand mining.

The quake hit Yogyakarta and Central Java, with Bantul being the worst affected. "All we have to do is dig up our rice fields and trucks are waiting in line to pick up the sand. We don't have to work to sell the sand, it's sold right away," he said.

Rintono said with help he could fill between six and nine trucks with sand at Rp 200,000 (US$22) to Rp 300,000 per truck. Between Rp 25,000 and Rp 50,000 is given to the rice field owner.

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