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Subak, the Secret of Balinese Agriculture Success

in Blog, Lifestyle
September 2, 2021
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Subak is More Than a Balinese Agriculture Organization!

One of the main drivers of Indonesia’s economy is agriculture, including in Bali. And like other places in Indonesia, Balinese agriculture also demonstrates its own uniqueness in the form of Subak. Discover the detailed story of Subak in Bali below.

The Philosophy

The Balinese farming system is known as Subak. It refers to an organization of Balinese farmers that organize the rice field irrigation based on a Hindu tenet Tri Hita Karana. Tri means three, Hita means prosperity and happiness, and Karana means cause.

Therefore, this philosophy can be translated into three causes of happiness and prosperity. Those three causes are:

  • Parahyangan. A harmonious relationship between Gods and humans.
  • Pawongan.  A good relationship between humans.
  • Palemahan. A relationship between nature and humans.

Meanwhile, the word Subak itself comes from the Balinese language. It was seen in the Pandak Bandung inscription made in 1072 AD.

What Subak Does?

This organization will prioritize democracy among the farmers when making certain arrangements, such as the distribution of water, particular timing for planting and harvesting, and kinds of rice the farmers should plant. The arrangement also includes punishments when a farmer violates the agreement.

Organizational Structure of Subak

Like any other organization, Subak also has a particular structure.

At the top level of the structure, there are:

  • Pekaseh or Subak head.
  • Pangliman or deputy’s head.
  • Peyarikan or secretary.
  • Petengen or treasurer.
  • Saya or announcer.
  • Pemangku or the one that is responsible for rituals.

Subak members are known for Krama Subak. They include farmers that own rice fields and receive water supply. Krama Subak is divided into three:

  • Krama aktif. Active members that are responsible for specific job descriptions like water supply management, pest control, rice planting, and transportation.
  • Krama pasif. Members that provide funds.
  • Krama luput. Inactive members because they may have other obligations like a district head.

Now, you understand the basic knowledge of the unique Balinese agriculture, Subak. For your information, this system is enlisted as a UNESCO world heritage.

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