Thursday, February 16, 2012

Indonesian farmers: Crisis as usual

(CNN) -- Ask a small farmer in Indonesia about the impact of the global financial crisis on his daily life and he will answer, "Crisis? What crisis?" As farmers, we know what a big crisis is. In 1997, we saw the collapse of the whole economy, driving thousands of unemployed construction and industry workers back to the villages, where their families already had difficulties making ends meet.

But the current situation is different and raises some worrying alarm bells. Although national industry keeps hiring workers and new infrastructure projects continue to pop up, our daily life has worsened on several fronts.

The most noticeable change is the increased pressure on agricultural land. Thousands of small farmers have been evicted from the fields they have cultivated for generations, because local or national authorities are giving concessions to large companies to exploit the land. Read More