[122] On the road – Skyscraper to Rice Paddy

From sky scrapers to rice fields. I see the landscape changing on the road from Jakarta to Jogjakarta, from the East to Central Java.

The road does not show me but another landscape, it shows me a story. ‘You know where I am really worried about,’ he had asked me the day before when I talked about climate change. ‘About the disappearing rice fields. When I was a child, there were rice fields everywhere, nowadays I don’t see them anymore around in Jakarta. If the city grows and grows, where will our food come from?’


His question sounds genuine worried. He does not know the answer, but he is not the only citizen who should be worried about. Globally, cities are taking more and more land to hold up with the growing urbanisation – houses, roads, industry, shops, … – and agriculture – food.

While cities increase, crop fields decrease, increasing on its turn the need to import food. Java, the island on which Jakarta and Jogjakarta are located produces the biggest part of the national rice production of Indonesia.

Rice is the basis of every meal, of every day, of every life, here in Indonesia. So, they better take care about. In addition, land productivity might decrease with the increasing climate change, while the population still grows and so do cities and hence the pressure on the land for agricultural use.


The rice fields are beautiful, the scenery astonishing, and as long as it lasts, I enjoy watching the several phases of the rice growing; people harvesting, planting, and maintaining the rice paddies. All the varieties of green and of rice, all the varieties of rice paddies in all their shapes and reliefs.

Yet, before I’m in the middle of the rice fields, there is something else marking the landscape, another side effect of growing urbanisation and the growing competition between the city and the agriculture. But that is for next blog.

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