Climate change, unpredictable weather threatens tobacco farmers with crop failure

Semarang – Tobacco farmers in Temanggung Regency, Central Java, increasingly impacted by unpredictable weather causing concern on major crop failures which usually come between August and October.

Ahmad, a tobacco farmer in Tlahab Village, Kledung District, said Wednesday (13/7), the weather this year is quite extreme and rainfall is still quite high until the end of June 2022. Based on experience in previous years, when entering the month of June the weather has improved, rainfall has also decreased.

“Tobacco is very dependent on the weather, not only during planting but also before the harvest,” he said.

Usually, farmers start planting tobacco when it enters April and the main harvest from August to October. But until this month, it still rains frequently. In fact, the hope of farmers when entering the month of June has started to heat up, and the intensity of the rain has decreased. However, it turns out that the opposite happened, Eka Yadi, another tobacco farmer, shared the same thing.

Yadi said he hopes the weather will change before the harvest season, so the quality of tobacco can be better and the selling price can be higher after the last two years the price has fallen.

“The most expensive 2021 harvest yesterday was only Rp. 70 thousand per kg. Hopefully the weather will improve and we hope that this year’s manufacturers will be able to buy Temanggung tobacco for more than Rp 100 thousand per kg, so that farmers will not lose money anymore,” said Yadi.

Temanggung Regent M Al Khadziq said that entering July it was usually dry, but until early July 2022 in the area there were still frequent rains which affected tobacco plants.

According to him, this year the tobacco crop seems to experience a slowdown due to climate change that is happening globally because “the evidence is that until now in July, it is still raining almost every day.”

In this condition, tobacco farmers have difficulty with continuous rains, because the tobacco plants if there is too much water it will die.

“This year farmers are experiencing severe pressure due to climate change. We can only ask the cigarette industry who buys Temanggung tobacco, please really pay attention to the difficulties of these farmers in buying tobacco later,” said Regent Khadziq.

A total of 14 sub-districts from 20 sub-districts in Temanggung Regency are tobacco-producing centers with an average annual tobacco production of 14,000 tons.

Head of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) Dwikorita Karnawati said that for “tobacco farmers, whether the harvest is good or not, it depends on the weather and climate conditions. Meanwhile, the obstacle is, currently global warming is making climate change and the weather more uncertain. Of course this will make it difficult”.

However, farmers can take advantage of the basic knowledge of reading the weather that has been given by BMKG through the Indonesian Field School (SLI), one of the BMKG literacy programs that aims to increase community resilience in facing multiple disasters in Indonesia.

Each sub-district scale, weather predictions can be known through an application on a smartphone. (Hartatik)

Banner photo: Tobacco farming area in Temanggung Regency, Central Java. (Source: Doc. Central Java Provincial Government)

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