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Activity Report (June-August 2018): AMDA Food Program in Malino, Indonesia

Publication date:2018-09-14
 
By Ahrani Akbar Fachri (Malino, AMDA Indonesia)
 

June


At AMDA Malino Farm in Batulapisi on the island of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, the local farmers are keen to cultivate organic vegetables and fruits besides making rice.

The innovators who started growing organic lettuce after purchasing its seeds in Makassar (the region’s capital) were Mr. Thalib and Mr. Jamal. The two influenced others to have a go at applying organic methods in making crops other than rice. Until now, the farmers have planted mustard plants, carrots, onions and cabbage in their fields.

Local farmer Mr. Hage is growing organic coffee and guava every year. Last year’s coffee yields were around 50 liters and they have been sold mostly at a local market (partially for home consumption.) The selling price for guava is 5,000 rupiah per kilo (about 37 JPY.) “They are grown with care,” he says. “Every month, I make it a rule to give my crops organic fertilizers and husk charcoal (ashes) in addition to the home-made spray which enhances the growth and repels pests.” Mr. Hage’s wife is also an avid producer of organic onions.

Instead of using chemical pesticides, the local farmers in Malino use a traditional tool called “bunre” to get rid of bugs. With a bag attached to a bamboo stick, they catch and exterminate them manually.

  
        Coffee tree                       Guava                     Exterminating bugs using bunre
 

July


Most of the farmers finish harvesting rice by mid-July, followed by drying the ears of rice. Since they do not have an abundant water resource, they plant rice one season per year to save water for growing other crops. The water is sourced from a nearby river to irrigate their farmlands.

Before harvesting rice, the farmers sample the rice plants to measure the weight. This helps rice producers grasp how much organic fertilizers should be given in the next season. If the overall yields decrease, it means more fertilizers are needed accordingly.


 

August


As the harvest comes to an end, the farmers start making husk charcoal (ashes to be fed to the yard) for the next rice planting season. According to Mr. Jamal, the process (burning the removed rice husks at a local facility) takes three to six hours depending on the husk condition. The period allotted for husk charcoal making is usually until the end of November as the rainy season arrives in December.


 
          Husk charcoal in the making                       A marketing meeting

For this year, the total sales volume of rice was set at 713 kilos. After a meeting, the farmers at AMDA Malino Farm set the selling price at 20,000 rupiah (about 150 JPY) per kilo. Of course, they check the quality of rice before shipping and get rid of the cracked grains or clean them if need be. According to one of the farmers, it helps increase their income as the retail price for organic rice is more expensive than that of non-organic ones. Likewise, organic vegetables and fruits have been well received by Makassar’s middle-to-upper-class health-conscious consumers.

In August, AMDA President Dr. Suganami visited Batulapisi to exchange ideas with the local farmers. The topic of discussion ranged from reports on organic rice farming to traditional medicine. This time, the farmers requested for the approval of red rice production to Dr. Suganami, stating that while there is a certain need among diabetes patients who prefer red rice to white rice, the crop can be more profitable for its higher price. As Dr. Suganami welcomed the proposal, the red rice production is expected to begin in 2019.
 
    •  Organic Farming (Comprehensive Livelihood Support)
    •  Indonesia
    •  2018
    •  Mid-Long Term Project
    •  GPSP

 
 
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