Wet Rice Cultivation and the Kayanic Peoples of East Kalimantan: Some Possible Factors Explaining Their Preference for Dry Rice Cultivation (1). (Research Notes)

By Okushima, Mika | Borneo Research Bulletin, Annual 1999 | Go to article overview

Wet Rice Cultivation and the Kayanic Peoples of East Kalimantan: Some Possible Factors Explaining Their Preference for Dry Rice Cultivation (1). (Research Notes)


Okushima, Mika, Borneo Research Bulletin


Introduction

In Kalimantan, as in other Indonesian islands, wet rice cultivation has been encouraged by government policy, which often equates dry rice cultivation with "traditional", "extensive", "wasteful of land", whereas wet rice cultivation is equated with "modern", "intensive", "productive", and "rational". Inland groups in Kalimantan, so-called "Dayaks", are considered to be dry rice cultivators and are under pressure to switch from dry to wet rice cultivation. In fact, however, many Kalimantan inlanders, including Kayanic groups of East Kalimantan among whom I conducted anthropological research for two and half years (1996-8), have a knowledge of both dry and wet rice cultivation. Among Kalimantan groups, the Lun Dayeh (or Apo Duat group) (2) are, in addition, known as being traditional wet rice cultivators. Moreover, the Lun Dayeh are not alone, and wet rice cultivation, at least in the form of "rawa" or "swamp rice farming", has been reported among a number of Borneo swiddeners, for example, the Iban, Land Dayak , Kantu', Maloh, and others (see Pringle 1970, Sather 1980, Wadley 1997, Low 1848, Dove 1980, Seavoy 1973, King 1985). There is, however, little detailed discussion of such cultivation. This may reflect not only ideological factors but also the fact that wet rice cultivation is often carried out on a small scale and is frequently secondary to dry rice cultivation for many of those who practice it. Several recent studies challenge the view that dry rice cultivation is "primitive" and historically precedes wet rice cultivation. Instead, rice agriculture, as practiced in Kalimantan and in other parts of Island Southeast Asia, using both dry and wet fields, has been described as the remains, or characteristic feature, of an ancient Asian rice agricultural system, which itself is the result of adaptation to the varied and special environmental circumstances of Southeast Asia (for example, see Watabe 1983, 1993, Tanaka 1991). Characteristic of this agricultural system, wet rice fields are cultivated in a similar way to dry rice fields, without tillage except for puddling (3) (regarding the details of these types of rice farming, see later).

In this paper, I will first describe Kayanic wet rice cultivation and outline its characteristics. I will then speculate as to why Kayanic people prefer dry rice over wet rice cultivation, although they appear to have practiced the latter since the time they lived in the Kayan basin, for some 350 years. There are several obvious reasons for this preference, including environmental and technological constraints, but here I wish to stress historical and cultural factors.

First, before beginning our discussion, it is necessary to mention some terminological problems. To clarify the differences that exist between different types of wet rice cultivation in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world, I shall use here Schneeberger's terminology and distinguish between "ladang", "rawa", and "sawah cultivation" (1979:46-53). "Ladang" or dry field cultivation is so-called slash-and-burn and is widely practiced in interior Borneo. "Rawa" cultivation involves the utilization of natural swamps or wetlands with or without control of water-levels by the use of dykes and is practiced, as noted above, by a number of Borneo groups, including Kayanic people. "Sawah" is the most elaborate form with developed irrigation systems, that is, dykes, water conduits, reservoirs, and so on, as seen among the Lun Dayeh, Javanese, in mainland Southeast Asia, and also in East and South Asia. Here we need to refine these distinctions further.

The principal difference between rawa and sawah fields is, in fact, not just irrigation but rather the total system of the water regulation, that is, the techniques used to control water impoundment in the field. These techniques consist of three main elements: leveling (to make the field bed flat, so as to keep the water-level equal, involving usually tilling, puddling, or trampling), bunding (to surround the field with dykes), and inundating (to fill the field with water, not only rain water, but water supplied by a constant source). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Wet Rice Cultivation and the Kayanic Peoples of East Kalimantan: Some Possible Factors Explaining Their Preference for Dry Rice Cultivation (1). (Research Notes)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.