Subsistence and Commercial Activities. For centuries the Balinese have been wet-rice farmers whose irrigation system regulates planting on mountain slopes and seaside plains. Yearly double-cropping is common and the national government supports the introduction of several strains that permit three annual crops in certain areas. Small mechanized plows can be used only in level areas. More commonly, water buffalo pull plows in small family fields, often steep terraces on the mountainsides. Although the volcanic soil is naturally rich, multiple-crop schemes require chemical fertilization. The government protects the rice price and buys all excess harvest for redistribution. In the west of the island there is a profitable coffee-growing region and in the north oranges are a cash crop. The local Balinese economy is based almost entirely on agriculture and government employment in offices and schools. Although Bali has a large tourist trade, most local households do not participate in this kind of economic activity.
Industrial Arts. There is no heavy industry in Bali and little light manufacturing. In tourist areas, carvers and painters produce objects for sale to visitors, often on consignment from art shops.
Trade. In towns, goldsmiths, tailors, and other merchants provide consumer goods. Each town has a market for vegetables, fruit, packaged and other foodstuffs, and animals such as pigs and chickens. Such markets are also held on a rotating basis in some villages. Villagers, often women, bring agricultural items to sell and return home with manufactured goods to peddle either door-to-door or in small shops. Alternatively, merchants may go to the village to buy agricultural goods or to sell such items as cloth, patent medicines, or soap. Men sell cattle in a central market.
Division of Labor. In agricultural activities men plow and prepare the fields. Men and women plant and harvest manually in large groups, while weeding is done by family members. Women keep the gardens, care for the pigs, and keep small snack stalls; they often control the income they gain from these activities. Men care for the cattle that are kept in garden areas. Women care for the children, assisted by the husband or other family members. Although men and women replace each other in domestic and agricultural chores when necessary, there is a stricter distinction between men's and women's ritual work. Men are the priests and women make the elaborate offerings used in rituals.
Land Tenure. Legally, rice and garden land are owned and registered in the name of an individual man, although his sons may be working his holdings. Villagers consider land to belong to a patrilineal descent group with the current owner inheriting the right to use, or dispose of, the land. Royal families formerly had large holdings.