TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Over the past three years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in partnership with the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD) of the Ministry of Agriculture, have been introducing conservation agriculture (CA) techniques in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Provinces to enhance small farmers' ability to adapt to climate change.
Results of the program had shown improvements, increasing average maize yields in the regions by 77 percent compared to conventional farming practices. Three key principles are applied in the CA includes minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil cover, and crop rotation.
The Director General of IAARD, Dr. Ir. Muhammad Syakir welcomes the positive results of the project, and plans to promote the CA techniques to other areas in Indonesia.
"Based on the positive results of this project, we hope that Conservation Agriculture can be adopted and extended massively in Indonesia. We need a reliable strategy and mechanism to make sure the technology is able to reach the farmers and increases the farmers' income," Syakir said.
Achievements of the CA techniques application were presented during the program's national consultation on Conservation Agriculture in Sari Pan Pacific Hotel Jakarta on December 6, 2016. The consultation aimed to develop the process of institutionalization of Conservation Agriculture in the national policy.
Deputy Chief of Commission IV of the House of Representatives Herman Khaeron, said that the CA program has good potential to boost farmers income, particularly farmers who work in drought-prone areas.
"I am optimistic that we can expand the Conservation Agriculture. It is not only able to put into action our commitment for the climate changes, but Conservation Agriculture techniques will sustain our agricultural resources, and improve the livelihoods of the farmers," Herman said.
As of today, the project engages 264 Farmer Groups with around 6,000 farmer members with one-third of the members being women. The project covers nine districts, 27 sub-districts and 65 villages in the two provinces.
The project will expand its work by cooperating with the Food Security and Extension Board (BKPP) of the NTT province and the Extension Board (BAKORLUH) of the NTB province. In addition, CA Training of Trainers (TOT) has been carried out at provincial level for 49 extension officers from 10 selected districts in both provinces.