COUNTRY PROFILE - INDONESIA
Indonesia, in southern Asia comprises more than 13600 islands lying along the Equator (6°N to 11°S) in about 5000 km length and between the longitudes of 94° to 141°E. Many of the islands cover only a few square kilometres although half of New Guinea (called Irian Jaya) and three fourths of Borneo (Kalimantan) also belong to Indonesia. After the Greenland, two of Indonesia's islands, New Guinea and Borneo are ranked as second and third largest islands in the world. The total area of the country is 19,19,443 sq.km. and its people live on more than 6000 islands, three fifths of them on Java, having 7% of the Indonesia's total area. Most of the Indonesia's larger cities are located in Java including its capital city of Jakarta, the largest, Surabaya, a busy port, and Bandung, an educational and cultural centre. The official language of the country is "Bahasa Indonesia". Tropical rain forests cover much of Indonesia. Its forests contain many hardwood trees like Teak and Ebony. The population of the country is more than 200 M (1996) of whom a little less than 53.0% are involved in agriculture. It ranks fifth in the world in population. Indonesia has a rich variety of natural resources besides its fertile soil. It has important deposits of Petroleum besides Bauxite, Coal, Iron Ore and Nickel. About two third of the country has rain forests. Services of various types account for an input of 41% into the country's economy, industry contributes 35%, while agriculture adds another 24%, even though it is a major economic activity. The per capita GNP of Indonesia stands at US $ 880.
Physiography and Climate
Indonesia has 931 out of its total 6000 islands which are inhabited and the principal islands are Java, Madura, Sumatra, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulaweri (Celebes), West Irian (West New Guinea) and the Moluceas. The island of Java including Madura covers 132200 sq.km. and is crossed by a chain of volcanoes and mountains, the highest being Sumeru in eastern Java with a height of 3675 m. At the foot lies a table land, 500 to 1500 m above MSL extending upto the lowlands of the coast which together make 70% of the land area, of which 20% is under forests. Land of about 400 m elevation is used for wet paddy cultivation.
Sumatra (473600 sq.km.) straddles the Equator and has a long mountain range called Bukit Barisan. The mountain portion is small while vast stretches of lowland are vast, principally marshy alluvial plains, covered with forests and vegetables. Kalimantan (Borneo) covers 539600 sq.km. and has a vast terrain of lowlands, principally alluvial and swampy plains. Sulaweri (189200 sq.km.) on the other hand, in contrast to Sumatra and Kalimantan, is mountainous and hilly excepting the central portion which has a large expanse of lowland of recent alluvial mountains. Nusa, Teneggra or lesser Sunda islands (Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores and others) cover 148100 sq.km. in the Indian ocean, of them Bali and Lombok have very fertile soils because of great qualities of volcanic ash. The Irian Jaya has an area of 422000 sq.km.
Indonesia has a hot and humid climate. The lowlands have an average annual temperature of 27°C, but lower in highlands. Average local temperatures vary little throughout the year resulting in the determination of the seasons on the rainfall differences. Java and lesser Sunda have distinct dry season with little rainfall. The rainfall is fairly and evenly distributed throughout the year in other parts of the country with somewhat heavier rain in the wet season. The wet and dry seasons are distinguished with monsoons. The driest regions of Indonesia receive 500 to 1000 mm rain in a year, the lowlands in the country receive 1800 to 3200 mm, while Kalimantan and Sumatra have 3000 to 3700 mm of rainfall. Sumatra has higher rainfall in the highlands. Some mountainous areas in Irian Java receive about 6400 mm a year. Rain forests flourish in Indonesia's hot rainy climate.
Agriculture is Indonesia's major economic activity. The farms are large plantations where coffee, palm oil, rubber, sugarcane, tea and tobacco are raised for export. Indonesia is a large producer of rice which is the main crop grown on small farms. Bananas, cassava, coconuts, maize, peanuts, spices and sweet potatoes are also grown. Major cash crop in Indonesia is rubber which is exported. The total land area of Indonesia is 181.17 M ha of which arable and permanently cropped area is 30.2 M ha, while non-arable lands contribute 150.98 M ha. Forests and woodlands enable Indonesia to produce large amounts of valuable hardwoods like teak and ebony. Bamboo is also produced in abundance. Estate management and agriculture is widely practised in Java and Sumatra whereas on other islands the estates are fewer. Soils in Kalimantan, Sulaweri and Sumatra are poor because of excessive leaching by heavy rains and irrigation is needed where rainfall is less than 1000 mm while the extensive swampy soils of the alluvial plains of Sumatra, Kalimantan and West Irian require drainage before being put to useful cultivation.
Irrigation has been practised in the Java island for
rice from ancient times with their rough and unsophisticated structures.
Indonesia has several streams in the large islands of Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan
and Irian. The important rivers are Brantas, the Sola, the Sorajee, Tjetmeek,
Tjettarun in Java, Asahan and Musi in Sumatra. Barito, Kapuas, Mahakam,
Kajau and Kahajan lie in Kalimantan. It also has rich ground water resources
particularly the aquifers of the lava streams. The total internal water
resources of the country stood at 2530 BCM (1987) of which a quantity
of 16.6 BCM was being withdrawn with an allocation of 76% to agriculture,
whereas the irrigated area in 1995 was 4.58 M ha. Irrigation in Indonesia
is being developed on five year plan basis and a good number of projects
have been implemented which include Brantes river valley development,
regional plan in West Java, Sampor dam and irrigation project and Bali
irrigation project. Drainage needs have been found to be necessary in
several islands of Indonesia particularly large areas in Kalimantan and
Sumatra. The practice of drainage and reclamation has been followed in
Indonesia for long. Large rice fields are connected by digging channels
and connecting them to tidal rivers which inundate the fields in high
tide and drain off during low-tides, thus converting a marsh land into
a fertile track in about 2 years time. During one of the five year plans
(1974-1979), nearly 272000 ha of tidal areas and swamp lands were reclaimed.
Indonesia has promulgated a number of laws for governing water resources.
A good amount of research and development efforts is on to develop irrigation
ICID and Indonesia
Indonesia joined ICID in 1950 as a founder member country
and its National Committee has actively participated in the ICID activities.
Currently Indonesian National Committee is represented on 9 workbodies
of ICID. Mr.
Suyono Sosrodarsono and Dr.
A. Hafied A. Gany (2007-2010) were the Vice President, ICID. The National Committee's publication 'Sejarah Irigasi Di Indonesia' by
Ir. Abdullah Angoedi, published in 1984 gives an account of historical
development of irrigated agriculture in Indonesia and a list of dams and
irrigation systems constructed prior to 1969. The National Committee has
hosted the 49th meeting of the ICID's International Executive Council
and the 10th Afro-Asian Regional Conference in July 1998. 61st International
Executive Council Meeting and 6th Asian Regional Conference was held at Yogyakarta in October 2010.