Since 2016, IDEP has been supporting farmers in Bali to be resilient through training and assisting them in producing their organic seeds independently. One area of the program is by collaborating with farmers in Pedawa, Buleleng. The vegetable seeds which they produce are long beans, eggplant, basil, belayan, chickpeas, and pumpkin. Those plants which grow through organic heirloom seeds were local plants that adaptable to the local climate and soil conditions.
IDEP team collected the seeds from the farmers and provided quality control before distributing them to other people. In every visit to collect seeds, the team is not only to talk about the plants and land situation but also as a way to stay in touch with farmers. Besides checking farmers’ gardens and collecting seeds, the team invites the farmers to share several stories about their experience in implementing the organic technique for their field, problems, and plans to maintain their gardens. The farmers can share and feel the familiarity with the team as the relationship that has been going for a long time.
Farmers in Pedawa produced the seeds in the specific area designated for plants that will only be used for producing seeds. IDEP as their partners will collect the seeds and then conduct several phases of test before they’re distributed to the market. Previously, farmers were pampered and became dependent on hybrid seeds, however, right now farmers are starting to understand the importance of producing good quality organic seeds by themselves. At the beginning of this collaboration, farmers were involved in seed-saving training. “At the first time, we feel doubt, but after getting assistance and practical examples, we start to believe and as we can see this program running until now,” said Kadek Asteya, a farmer from Pedawa.
The seed-saving training was not only held in the IDEP office but also in Pedawa village. Afterward, farmers that are willing to participate and commit to this program are to join seed-saving training in the IDEP office once a year as a refresh training. This experience helps farmers to maintain their organic garden. Until now, there are 10 farmers from Pedawa who admit that by producing organic seeds they can increase their income. “Usually farmers just wait for annual income from harvest, but now we can get additional income by selling organic seeds,” said Kadek Asteya.
Apart from seed-saving and production, IDEP also supports the farmers through a biogas system. By biogas, they have the alternative to fuel their cooking activity with clean energy. Apart from building the biogas reactor and the equipment, IDEP also supports every farmer by distributing “revolving cows” to be nurtured. By having cows, they are able to utilize its dung for cooking stove fuel and also compost.
Through learning and assistance, the farmers can maintain their gardens organically and produce good yields by themselves. They can even generate 70% income from selling mature cows, while the remaining 30% is used by IDEP to buy new cows and revolve them to other farmers. Kadek Asteya acknowledges that this system provides support for the sustainability of farmers. He hopes that this program can expand so that IDEP can involve other farmers in sustainable livelihood by producing their organic seeds and compost independently. (Gd)