After changing his agriculture system into agroecology, Wayan Jarmin and his family’s life has improved financially. “I wasn’t sure before. But after being assisted with the marketing system, I’m convinced I’m excited,” said Wayan Jarmin, a farmer from Bedugul who applies agroecology.
For more than eight years, Wayan Jarmin had implemented this eco-friendly agriculture. This process begins from a small scope, and it started from a half-acre, then increased to two acres. After the changes he felt were getting better, Jarmin ventured to apply agroecology in all the land he owned, which was 35 acres.
The Journey to Green Agriculture
Wayan Jarmin has experienced ups and downs in this experiment, and he underwent significant changes and led to an increase in the quality of his family life. Agroecology is a system that utilizes the natural environment to become inputs in the agricultural system, such as making fertilizers or natural pesticides. The initial goal was to reduce costs,” said Jarmin.
Jarmin also knows the importance of local seeds because the resistance possessed by open-pollinated seeds is an added value compared to hybrid or genetically modified organism (GMO) seeds. “Local [seed] is stronger, can adapt to the environment, strong against pests, bad weather, and also economical in fertilizers because it can get good fertilization from the soil, without the need for hormones and so on from the factory,” explained Jarmin, who has also produced local seeds.
Jarmin began to share his experience with other farmers to produce seeds, compost, and natural disease control independently. This direct evidence has slowly changed the view of farmers on the concept of agroecology. He had received various ridicule at the beginning of his experiment. Still, Jarmin believes this effort must continue because he has seen that organic vegetables have their market.
The change towards agroecology begins with soil rehabilitation. “It takes three years to switch from chemical to organic without chemical sterilization,” added Jarmin, who started this concept in 2013. After 2016, Jarmin began to receive orders from Club Med Bali frequently. During this process, some of the farmers are accompanied by Agrisud. Then marketing began to increase when IDEP established intense assistance with Jarmin and other farmers in 2017. IDEP tried to invite other farmers while providing assistance related to eco-friendly agriculture.
In the first year of IDEP and farmers’ collaboration was filled with exploring marketing models. Starting from making catalogs, farmers’ business cards to be directly connected to consumers and inviting farmers to sell directly at the Ubud Organic Market. “I am grateful because this opportunity can get acquainted with consumers directly, so I have network and customers,” said Jarmin with a smile.
Addition of Members and Sustainability of Agroecology
Indirectly, Jarmin can invite other farmers to apply agroecology together. Other farmers ask Jarmin about his land conditions at every opportunity because what was considered impossible became possible and better. Most have realized that conventional systems with monocultures with little variety of crops also do not give farmers the freedom to try other crops. Even from the calculation of management and sales costs, the results are not satisfactory if you apply monoculture farming because you need to spend money on chemical drugs. “For conventional, it is 50:50, so the management fee is 50, and the income is 50. It’s the same as returning to zero,” said Jarmin.
Jarmin not only implemented agroecology with the term ‘without chemicals’ but also changed his farming system, which existed before chemical agriculture was introduced. Especially regarding the rotation system, according to Jarmin, this system is fundamental because it can break the pest and disease cycle up to 80-90%. He also added that what are called pests are those that already exist and are part of the earth, “sing ngidaang ngadaang uling Bumi [cannot remove what is indeed from the earth],” explained Jarmin.
Caterpillars, often considered a factor in crop failure, are also needed. It helps the pollination process, and farmers can get good seeds when it becomes a butterfly. “That’s why we can’t judge that this is a good one, that must be lost, because it needs to be balanced,” added Jarmin, who also allowed plants such as weeds in his garden to become living mulch.
After Jarmin tells his stories to another farmer, it increases the number of agroecological farmers. There have been nine members in the Bukit Mesari farmer group. Even with the pandemic hits, farmers are confident that they can continue their efforts to implement the concept in harmony with nature. Until now, the Bukit Mesari farmer group has produced various types of vegetables, such as kale, leeks, celery, mizuna, fennel, arugula, coriander, and many more.
Apart from expanding the farmers’ network, Jarmin also hopes that consumers will also understand the importance of knowing the origin of our food. “Hopefully, in the future, we as farmers can spread this planting system [agroecology], and consumers will begin to realize the importance of health that is obtained from what they eat,” said Jarmin. (Gd)