By Pierre Van Der Eng
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Additional resources for Agricultural Growth in Indonesia: Productivity Change and Policy Impact since 1880
They were often improvements of dams in existing indigenous constructions. The work on smaller projects was haphazard. Engineers worked without surveys into the geological and hydrological conditions of the area and often had to base their designs on rough guesses. 8 Occasionally it appeared later that a cheaper solution to a specific problem would have been possible. 44 Agricultural Growth in Indonesia Irrigation Regulation The Cultivation System and direct government involvement in sugar production were phased out after 1870.
The size of irrigation systems and the sophistication of construction and operation techniques varied. One reason for this variation was geographical and ecological circumstances. Another was the degree of social cohesion or political control. Small works were generally organised at village level, but bigger and more complex works had to be organised at higher administrative levels. Construction techniques were generally simple. Beds of small rivers were simply blocked with rocks and logs to form a weir.
Land productivity in farm agriculture in the Other Islands increased since 1900, but at a lower pace than in Java. This difference between both areas is related to the fact that the land-labour ratio continued to be relatively high in the Other Islands, whereas it declined continuously in Java. In order to at least maintain labour productivity at level, land productivity had to increase in Java. In the Other Islands producers had the choice between cultivating wasteland in shifting or sedentary cultivation patterns, or adopting new technologies in order to increase land productivity.