Indonesia: Hail threatens potato harvest in Central Java’s Banjarnegara regency

Agus Maryono The Jakarta Post 6 Jul 18;

Hundreds of hectares of potato fields in Dieng, Banjarnegara regency, Central Java, were covered in hail on Friday.

Such a weather phenomenon, based on past experience, would usually kill the potato plants, Dieng farmers said.

Residents said the temperature had dropped to -5 degrees Celsius early on Friday morning, which had caused hail that was thicker and spread more widely than a few days before.

Slamet Raharjo, the village head of Dieng Kulon in Batur district, said the hail would usually recur.

“Considering this is only the beginning of the dry season, it will continue. This morning it was -5 degrees Celsius in Dieng. Usually the lowest we have is -3 degrees Celsius,” he said.

He said after being covered by hail, Dieng farmers’ potatoes and vegetables would yellow and wither, which explains why residents refer to the hail as “poisonous dew”.
“Thirty hectares of my potato fields have been affected, and I’m sure they are dead now. It is merciless, I have to replant after this cold spell is over,” Slamet said.

Farmers could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of produce to the hail, he said.

He said the temperature drop was an annual occurrence in Dieng, but it did not always result in hail.