Since 2016, IDEP has collaborated with six villages in Talaud Islands regency to preserve the biodiversity and provide sustainable livelihoods for the community. The six villages included Ensem, Ambela, Bengel, Rae Selatan, Dapihe and Dapalan. Prior to that, despite being blessed with rich biodiversity, including various protected endemic animals such as Sampiri (local name for Red and Blue Lory), the community had no choice but to survive in the midst of severe ecosystem damage.
However, since the 1970s, almost all of these copra-producing commodity regions have been constantly watered with massive chemical pesticides. It is done to eradicate pests of sexava (a type of leaf-eating grasshopper) that damage their coconut plants (copra base material). Since the area of coconut plantations in this region is so vast, these chemical pesticides were even sprayed from the air by plane. The result is so complex, ranging from people who even refuse to consume coconuts which they themselves plant, illegal logging and poaching on Sampiri in protected forest areas. The last two consequences are made to earn income after their coconut is no longer reliable.
But with the permaculture approach implemented by IDEP through the Biodiversity and Sustainable Livelihood Protection program, now they have gradually succeeded in making steps forward. For example, they have been successfully developing the family home-gardens to meet their daily consumption, generating income from the selling of surplus crops and processed products managed by themselves, rehabilitating coconut plantations, running conservation and stopping illegal poaching of endemic species on the island.
To expand the program’s impact, on 12-13 February 2019 IDEP held the training of Environmentally-Friendly Agriculture Management with Permaculture Method at Departement of Food Security and Agriculture (DKPP) of Talaud regency located in Beo sub-district. The training that gained full support from Talaud government was intended for the Field Officers (PPL) of DKPP within the regency. There were 26 Field Officers participated during the training facilitated by Sayu Komang, IDEP Program Coordinator.
The Field Officers were deliberately targeted as participants because of their strategic position in assisting the community regarding agriculture. As stated by David Ch. Jullinar, IDEP Field Program Manager in Talaud, participants are the apparatus, which have the duty and responsibility to support the community in terms of agricultural management through the knowledge and competencies they have. “With the permaculture method shared in this training, participants are expected to be able to disseminate environmentally-friendly agricultural systems, which prioritizing sustainability, in line with the biodiversity conservation efforts but also remain profitable for the community economy,” explained David.
To be more interesting, the training material was packaged in the form of a discussion about the concept of permaculture, which was followed by hands-on practice. During two days, the participants were invited to learn about the comparison of problems between sustainability and it’s opposite, making beds with natural patterns, testing soil PH and mulching, soil rehabilitation systems, composting, Integrated Pest Control systems and natural pesticides, Sexava management systems using the salting method, seed saving and nursery.
At the end of the training session, each participant was asked to draw up a Follow-Up Plan (RTL) that they would do in collaboration with the community in their assisted village. Some participants looked very enthusiastic and optimistic about the RTL they had compiled. Moreover, according to them, some of the material they obtained during training is new stuff, which is actually easy to do, effective and low-cost because the necessary resources can be obtained around them. (Ed)