The Sustainable Agriculture Program undertaken by IDEP in three villages in East Halmahera, North Maluku, continues to make a breakthrough. The three villages are Tutuling Jaya, Dodaga and Tomares. The majority of the three villages are inhabited by residents of Tobelo Dalam (a native tribe of Halmahera) who are farmers.
After focusing on training in the management of family home-garden (KPK) and processed products since June 2018, the program then continued its support in 2019 through the Healthy Market. Healthy Market is a promotional and marketing event held by IDEP in collaboration with farmers from the three villages, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the Padamara Polytechnic. This activity aims to provide space and open access for the beneficiaries of the IDEP program to be able to promote and market their crops and processed products from the gardens that they manage organically using the permaculture approach.
As if what they sell is increasingly known and even desirable, then they have a greater chance to practice sustainable livelihoods in order to support the household economy. Previously, the community of the three villages was very dependent on hunting activities, food gathering, and opening gardens on a shift in forest areas.
The way of life that is still very dependent on forest products then puts them in trouble with Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park (TNAL). The difference in perception becomes the trigger. According to them, the forest area they worked on was inherited from their predecessors from generations to generations. But on the TNAL side, based on the Zoning Map issued by TNAL, a number of the three villages areas are within the TNAL Buffer Zone. Tutuling Jaya and Dodaga are in the Lolobata area, while Tomares is in the Aketajawe area. So, when the land that is cultivated is considered to be included in a protected forest area, the community often has to face the forest guards in the TNAL area.
Selling crops and processed products are new to the community. The reason is, prior to this event, the market in their area was more dominated by traders who are transmigrants.
In order to reach a wider community, the Healthy Market was held in two strategic places. The first was in Sofifi Port on June 26, while the second was at Warung Smorgan, Tobelo, on 28 June. There, farmers from the three villages went straight down to sell various crops such as fresh vegetables and herbs. There were also various processed products that they have packaged such as vegetable chips, fine spices, and virgin coconut oil (VCO). The packaged processed products are one of the results of the training that IDEP facilitated at the end of 2018.
Sofifi Port, which is located on the coast of Sofifi, was chosen because it is one of the busiest points in the capital of North Maluku Province. It is because the speed boat is the main mode of transportation in the area consisting of many islands. The target market is ship passengers and communities around the port.
While at Warung Smorgan, which is located in the capital of North Halmahera Regency, the target market is its customers. Previously, Smorgan has initiated the regular organic vegetable market. There, Healthy Market was also joined by beneficiary-farmers of Padamara Polytechnic and Halmahera University program.
At Smorgan, in addition to Healthy Market, IDEP also collaborates with a number of other institutions to hold various events that can attract people interest. There is a group of people with disabilities in Tobelo who exhibit marine craft products such as shells. There is also Wahana Visi Indonesia (WVI) which organize Inspiration Classes for children. Not only that, but there is also Burung Indonesia which uses the opportunity to share information to visitors about endemic species of animals in North Maluku and the importance of involvement in its conservation efforts. Warung Smorgan, in collaboration with IDEP, also participated in by organizing the planting contest in the courtyard and backyard of the shop.
The response to the Healthy Market, both held at Sofifi and in Tobelo, was very enthusiastic. It was seen from the many visitors who stopped by and bought the products of the farmers. Furthermore, this activity will be carried out regularly every month. (Ed)