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About 2.5 tons of milled rice and 6 tons of unmilled rice are produced per hectare in prime Javanese paddies. Rice farmers typically plant Green Revolution rice varieties that allow for three growing seasons per year when irrigation is available. Farmers typically plant seeds in very small plots because inputs like fertilizer and pesticide are relatively expensive. The 15-20 centimeter (6-8 in) stalks are manually picked and replanted at greater separation three weeks after germination in a laborious process.

In Central Java, rice is typically harvested not by paddock owners or sharecroppers but rather by itinerant middlemen whose small businesses specialize in harvesting, transporting, milling, and distributing rice.

Rice has become a staple food in a lot of the Indonesian archipelago because of the fertile volcanic soil, especially on the islands of Java and Bali. Bali’s steep terrain necessitated complex irrigation systems, known as subak in the local language, to control water storage and drainage for rice terraces.