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Updated: Aug 22, 2023

By: Krisna P Waworuntu, EBPP Agriculture Expert

When I joined EBPP, I saw a lot of potential that could be developed around the farmers’ dry land located on the sandy slopes of Mount Abang. Most farmers cultivate their land using systems they learned from their ancestors: growing corn, cassava, pigeon peas, beans, onions, and chili as a source of income, and in recent years, use a lot of chemical fertilizers - hoping for better results. Before planting in the field, they only form mounds in rows, then cover with plastic mulch to prevent weeds, not thinking that these mounds can be washed away in heavy rains, and fertilizers spread in the mounds are also washed away.

Working with EBPP since October 2022, I have frequently gathered with them, and through the experience of dryland farming that I have applied in various places, I try to provide solutions to their problems. In this case, their biggest problem is the prolonged use of chemical fertilizers, resulting in the soil becoming drier, less fertile, and the yield reducing every year. To overcome these problems, I started by teaching them to make compost and liquid and solid organic fertilizers using local materials and household waste, as a solution.

The next lesson was to cut and shape the correct terracing by following the contour of the slope of the land, and form the right water channel so that the water can last longer to keep the soil moist. The soil will then become more fertile and not easy to landslide, in addition, there are also plants with different functions, such as wind breakers and fertilizer producers.

All these things are the keys to success in cultivating land, and since January we are making joint efforts with EBPP Manikaji School students alongside the farmer groups and students to make improvements to their respective land plots that we use as a joint learning pilot project.

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