Jakarta: A dry spell has cast a pall over 100 districts and cities in the Aceh, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) provinces, Indonesian Agriculture Ministry's data stated.
The ministry held a coordinating meeting, attended by officials of the local agriculture, public works, and military offices, to deliberate on steps to mitigate the impacts of the current period of extreme dry weather.
"Most parts of Java, Bali, and Nusa Tenggara have not received rains for over 30 days. Drought has affected some 100 districts and cities," Sarwo Edhy, director general for agriculture infrastructure and facilities at the Agriculture Ministry, revealed here on Monday.
The extreme dry season has impacted 102,746 hectares (ha) of agricultural area and ruined 9,358 ha.
East Java is the worst hit, with 34,006 ha of rice fields having dried up, and 5,069 hectares spoilt; followed by 32,809 ha in Central Java going bone dry and 1,893 ha spoilt; and 25,416 hectares going dry and 624 hectares ruined in West Java.
Yogyakarta has been ailing from the impact of the drought, with 6,139 ha going dry and 1,757 ha spoilt; 3,464 ha in Banten; 857 ha in NTB; and 55 ha in NTT, with 15 ha ruined.
The National Meteorological, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has forecast extreme dry season until September, with the condition likely to peak in August.
Sumardjo Gatot Irianto, the ministry's director general for crops, affirmed that the ministry will accrue data on farmers covered under insurance, and the government will distribute seeds to farmers not having insurance cover.
He called for the need to build more water pumps and wells; restore the irrigation system; and optimize the utilization of water from nearby rivers, lakes, and dams to cope with the impact of drought.
The agriculture ministry will also intensify the planting of crops on dry land. During such a dry season, it is time to plant in productive swamp areas, he suggested. (Antara)