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Terraced Ricefields

Location: Bentuyung Road, Bali
Catalog Number: 1925BW

It seems that every possible inch of arable land is cultivated in Bali. These ancient terraced rice paddies demonstrate the lushness of the countryside made possible by an amazingly efficient irrigation system. This photograph was taken after 5 months of drought! The release of water for irrigating fields is under the control of the religious calendar. In the late 80's, someone suggested that the farmers try a type of rice that would produce 3 yields instead of 2 per year. This would require water being released at times other than those specified by the religious calendar. There was heated debate over the wisdom of going against the religious calendar and concern over defying the gods. Practicality won out, and the 3 crops per year rice was planted. It turned out that the crops were riddled with disease and eaten by vermin. The farmers went back to their time honored ways. The gods won the debate.

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