Floods ruin thousands of hectares of crops

Prolonged flooding in a number of farming areas in Sumatra and Java has triggered harvest failures and damage to farmland.

The Jambi Agriculture Office revealed Tuesday that around 8,000 hectares of rice fields in the province were facing harvest failure as they were waterlogged.

Office head Amrin Aziz said the floods in Jambi province, which hit Kerinci and Muaro Jambi regencies and Jambi City, had caused a 12,000-ton drop in rice production.

“The harvest failure was attributed to waterlogged rice fields in a number of flooded regions. As many as 3,000 hectares of farmland are facing harvest failure in Merangin and Kerinci regencies and in Muaro Jambi regency and Jambi City,” said Amrin as quoted by Antara.

Another 5,000 hectares of farmland, added Amrin, were inundated during the planting season. As a result, farmers were unable to continue maintenance prior to harvest, but a small swathe of farmland in Muaro Jambi was affected as rice seedlings there were just two weeks old.

Amrin said that according to weather forecasts, rainfall would peak at the end of February. The situation would further influence crop production in 2015 because of a resulting shift in the planting season as farmers would replant the rice after the floods end.

“We have provided seedlings in Merangin regency for an area of 500 hectares. The farmland there was damaged by flash floods and they are currently being restored. We will distribute the seedlings after the restoration work is completed,” he said.

Regarding the loss of 12,000 tons of rice, according to Amrin, it could be covered by speeding up the harvest by expanding to 11,000 hectares of rice fields in East Tanjung Jabung and West Tanjung Jabung regencies.

“West Tanjung Jabung was hit by drought in 2014, so farmers failed to cultivate rice. We could cover the losses from the expansion of the rice fields next year,” said Amrin.

Besides that, to cover the losses, Amrin said his office would make efforts to provide seedlings so as to reach production targets to meet rice demands in the province.

In Jember regency, East Java, around 1,500 hectares of farmland has also been engulfed by floods.

“The affected farmland is located in Wuluhan, Tempurejo, Jenggawah, Gumukmas, Semboro and Balung districts,” said Jember Agriculture Office head Hari Wijayadi on Tuesday.

According to him, the temporary data is gathered by field counselors and the extent of the damage could increase as floods have yet to subside in a number of areas.

“Among the damaged commodities are rice, corn, watermelon and chili,” said Hari.

The worst-hit district is Temporejo, where 729 hectares of farmland have been engulfed by floods.

He added his office would provide seedlings to farmers whose fields were swamped by floods and make an inventory of farmland still waterlogged.

“Hopefully, the floods affecting the farmland would not have an impact on rice production next year as the rice plants are still young and can be patched up again,” said Hari.

Jember regency was isolated by flooding over the weekend, with thousands of homes and farms inundated in the affected districts of Semboro, Sumberbaru, Jenggawah, Ambulu, Wuluhan and Tempurejo.

The floods were triggered by high rainfall, causing the Tanggul and Mayang rivers to overflow and engulf residential areas in seven districts.

Jember regent MZA Djalal has declared a state of emergency in the regency. The regent ordered disaster mitigation personnel to focus on catering to refugees and evacuating trapped residents.

As of Tuesday, the local disaster mitigation agency had recorded 1,520 families in Tempurejo district to have fled their homes, as well as 1,230 families in Sumberbaru, 487 families in Semboro, 230 in Wuluhan, 40 in Ambulu and 40 in Jenggawah. - See more at: