Surviving the long dry season in Konawe Selatan with improved farming systems
Farmers in Indonesia are more optimistic about surviving the increasingly long dry seasons because the World Agroforestry Centre is improving their understanding of agroforestry and drip irrigation.
By Amy Lumban Gaol
Up until recently, for farmers in Konawe Selatan, Kendari District, Southeast Sulawesi Province, Indonesia their understanding of agroforestry was to mix trees and crops together in the home garden with little or no planning or management. The results were not optimal: little or no yields and failed plantings. The farmers were unaware that there were techniques that could be followed in mixing crops, for example, calculating the specific distance between particular species of tree, the suitability of plants for combination and where to plant them in relation to one another.
The situation had been further challenged by a prolonged dry season that caused the failure of many crops, leading farmers to experience difficult times with low incomes and very limited water. With temperatures over 37 degrees and no rain for almost half the year, many crops died. And if the farmers were able to water their crops, the water would evaporate in minutes, leaving the plots as if they hadn’t been watered for months.
To help farmers meet these challenges, the Agroforestry and Forestry in Sulawesi (AgFor) project team has been working to improve farmers’ knowledge of drip irrigation and agroforestry techniques. AgFor is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. After two years of operation in Kolaka Timur and Konawe in Southeast Sulawesi, AgFor started in Konawe Selatan and Kota Kendari in 2014. Konawe Selatan has two sub-districts, Lalembuu and Wolasi, in which seven villages participate actively in AgFor.
Read the full story: Agroforestry World