IDEP Foundation

Subak Catur Angga Towards Sovereignty Through Eco-Friendly Agriculture

Beyond expectations, the trial of implementing healthy and eco-friendly agriculture in an area of 10 acres in Subak Catur Angga, Tabanan, resulted in a satisfying harvest.

This result was precisely obtained at the First Harvest event on Saturday, December 11, 2021. “Initially, I thought that in these 5 acres will get about 300 kg, but it turns out to be more than that,” said Nengah Sutamaya, Pekaseh Subak Rejasa.

The first healthy and eco-friendly rice harvest in Subak Catur Angga, Batukaru, Tabanan (Photo: Gusti Diah)

Since November 2020, IDEP has started to dialogue with farmers in Subak Catur Angga. Then assist farmers who are members of the Pokja (responsible group). In the mentoring process, several pieces of training were conducted, including training on organizational management, permaculture, preparation of Subak maps, and data collection of Subak members according to socio-cultural, ecological, and economic aspects. “The purpose of this assistance is to increase the capacity of farmers in implementing eco-friendly agriculture and strengthing Subak organization,” said Wahyu from the IDEP Foundation.

Ubinan process to calculate estimated harvest (Photo: Gusti Diah)

The farmers who are members of the 20 Subak welcome the assistance that leads to eco-friendly agriculture. “Fortunately, there is a Foundation [IDEP] that accompanies us. As a Pekaseh Subak Rejasa, I ventured to make a demonstration plot. In addition to reducing chemicals that are harmful to health, if you use chemicals, it costs a lot more,” explained the man who is often called Mr. Cip.

Good responses from the farmers came when the process towards eco-friendly agriculture, which was initially considered difficult, turned out to be more accessible and less costly. “If it’s organic, we can use what is around us, for fertilizer, or for controlling pests. It means saving costs, besides the quality, quality of the rice is better for health,” said I Wayan Juliana, Pekaseh Subak Sri Gumana.

Not only save costs, agriculture that uses organic materials is also free from rat attacks that have even destroyed crops. “During the practice of this farming process, there is no rat. Usually, when we use agrochemical, rats always come and destroy our ricefield,” explained Mr. Cip.

Rice yield from the land cultivated by Nengah Sutamaya (Mr. Cip) (Photo: Gusti Diah)
Calculating grain weight (Photo: Gusti Diah)

The absence of rat attacks made Pak Cip’s harvest increase. After the event was over, together with the IDEP team, this man, who has been a Subak Pekaseh since 2018, visited the Jatiluwih Organic Rice production house. “After being weighed, the total weight of the grain reaches 445 kg,” said Mr. Cip.

Some of the benefits obtained by farmers strengthen their determination to continue implementing eco-friendly agriculture. Although there are some nuisance insects, they do not exceed normal limits. Juliana also added, “Of course, there are insects, but it’s temporary because of its predators. If you use chemicals, it’s the same, and everything will die, pests and predators. So we want to protect the natural ecosystem here.”

Mr. Cip and Juliana know the terrible effects of using excessive chemicals because knowledge about eco-friendly agriculture is still in their minds. But since the green revolution, farmers have been dependent on agrochemicals. At the same time, according to UNESCO, Subak Catur Angga is recognized as a world heritage site that needs to be preserved for its nature and culture. “We want to be together with farmers in efforts to protect this world’s cultural heritage, especially the preservation of Subak and its environment,” added Wahyu, who regularly accompanies farmers.

Catur Angga is a world cultural heritage that needs to be preserved and the key to food sovereignty in Bali. This system, which has been passed down from generation to generation, has supported most Balinese people.

Message from the representative of the Regent of Tabanan (Photo: Gusti Diah)

The steps initiated by Subak Catur Angga show that they are capable of sovereign rights as farmers. In this First Harvest event, the Tabanan government expressed its promise to “try slowly in the future towards organic farming, so that we, the Tabanan Regency government, really appreciate and support this activity.” (Gd)