Food for the future, Organic farming takes root in post-bomb Bali
In the 1990s, the tourism industry in Bali boomed. Many Balinese became rich during this period. But farmers, the traditional upholders of the Balinese economy, became poorer. Costs of agricultural production and the cost of living went up, and the price of agricultural products, especially rice, rose very little. Farmers turned to other work, usually in tourism-related sectors, to make a living. Farmland was converted to other (usually tourism-related) uses. Young people were more attracted to the glamorous prospects offered by tourism than the hard work, dirty clothes and poor pay of farming.
The bombs in Kuta in October 2002 were not the end of tourism, but they were the beginning of the end of the fantasy, blindly held through the boom-years, that tourism was a sustainable long-term base for the Balinese economy. In the wake of the bomb, some advocated a more diversified and sustainable economic base. Many realised that agriculture had been forgotten - or at least marginalised - and that it should perhaps be reinstated at the centre of Balinese culture and economy. Some policy makers suggested developing agro-industri and agri-bisnis to compete in the global market.