Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | October 31, 2007

Organic farming comes to Batam(Indonesia)

The regional office of the Technology Assessment and Application Agency (BPPT) provided the seeds and the technical know-how to produce the compost and raise the crops.
Organic farming does not use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or livestock feed additives. Organic farmers rely on crop rotation, crop residues and animal manure to maintain soil productivity.
fam bali indonesia According to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, approximately 31 million hectares of farmland worldwide are now cultivated organically.
“The sawi and timun tasted sweet when we harvest them,” Rusmin said.
That first crop, harvested in September, sold out quickly when buyers learned they tasted better. The selling price was the going local market rate of Rp 2,000 per kilogram for sawi, Rp 7,000 for the timun and Rp 8,000 for the kacang panjang.
Rusmin, who has lived in Batam for six years and is originally from Purbalingga in Central Java, said he could not get higher prices for his crops as the venture is still new.
  The price can drop to Rp 520 a kilogram for sawi if outside growers flood the market. The price can also soar to Rp 6,000 in times of scarcity, he said.
A second planting has started after the Muslim fasting month in October. In the meantime, Rusmin has planted kangkung jari, a local spinach, on his assigned lot. It will mature in 20 days, says the farmer who lives with his wife and 9-year-old son.
He said he had not encountered any pest problems. No rats or plant diseases. Piped-in water comes from a 60-by-5 meter rain-fed reservoir 200 meters away.
An official at the Batam city agricultural office said the organic farming experiment will run for three harvests for the three specified crops.
Requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak about the project, he would not say what would happen after the third harvest. But a large blue-roofed building is under construction at the entrance of the test site off the main road.
Questioned about the building, he replied it was for the packaging of agricultural produce not only from within but also from outside Batam. It is not yet in operation as cold storage units are not yet installed, he said.
A high ceilinged shed without walls next to the designated packaging house is where the farmers make and store their compost. Bu Fauziah, wife of farmer Samsuddin, explained how the compost is made.
One ton of assorted plant residue like hay and grass is collected from surrounding areas. The plant waste is cut into small pieces and mixed with three kilograms of biodek powder, a bioactivator that speeds up the composting process. The waste is stacked in six layers.
The entire stack is at least one meter high. The waste pile is covered with a black plastic sheet to maintain moisture. If necessary, water can be sprayed over the waste. Every week the sheet is opened to flip over the layers. The compost is ready after one month of incubation. The organic fertilizer is dark brown to black in color like shreds of loose tobacco. It is odorless.
According to a 2004 paper on organic farming in Indonesia by Riza Tjahjadi, Indonesia has 17 million hectares of idle land that could be used for organic farming. The country has a land area of 192 million hectares of which 29 million hectares is arable land for food production.
A supermarket owner believes 15 million Indonesians consume organic food, the daily newspaper Bisnis Indonesia reported in a Dec. 21, 2004, article. Given the public demand for organic food, the Agriculture Ministry has an ambitious program, Go Organic 2010. The aim is for Indonesia to become a major organic food producer by 2010.


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