Improving Farmers Capacity with Comparative Study
Tanaoba Lais Manekat GMIT Foundation (YTLM-GMIT) invited its assisted village community to transform unproductive land into productive to produce foodstuff that later be processed and sold as additional income source.
Currently, productive gardens facilitated by TLM are 8 gardens located in 8 villages, which are Sahraen and Nekmese in Kupang Regency, Enonabuasa and Kiubaat in South East Timor (TTS) Regency, Kolobolon, Maubesi and Lidamanu in Rote Ndao Regency and 1 productive Garden in East Sumba Regency, in Ngaru Kanoru.
The plants grown consist of vegetables and fruits that cultivated organically, make them safe to consume. Aside from productive garden, TLM Foundation also procures water project for productive garden using hydraulic ram technology or well known as hydram pump. The use of hydram pump is because the location of productive garden is higher than water source so a technology to irrigate water to garden for maximal plants care is necessary.
Productive garden has been so profitable for many of village community. Those who previously rarely consumed vegetables and fruits because the lacks of knowledge about land processing are now able to consume the food easily. Productive garden also created job for those who are ready to sell their crops.
To improve farmers’ knowledge and capacity in land processing and proper integrated farming technique that applies modern plant pattern, TLM Foundation provided opportunity for the farmers of new productive garden to conduct comparative study by visiting productive garden in TLM assisted villages that have been successfully developed the integrated productive garden.
Recently, from 10 to 13 July 2018, TLM Foundation gave opportunity to 5 productive garden member of Sahraen village in South Amarasi Sub-district, Kupang Regency with 1 village facilitator to visit Kolobolon and Lidamanu. In this comparative study, TLM Foundation presented 15 productive garden members from Maubesi with its village facilitator.
The comparative study done in 4 days was to provide opportunity for Sahraen and Maubesi productive garden member to directly observe dragon fruits cultivation process and its business concept developed in Kolobolon since 2014.
Organic productive garden of Kolobolon village has been successfully grown dragon fruits with unique flavor and it brought an excellent impact for the garden members of the garden where there are 70 dragon fruit plants that has bore fruits which have helped each member to get additional income from the crops. Until now, Kolobolon garden group has planted 10000 dragon plants and within 1 year, they can enjoy the outcome.
Tuti Aritonang, head of TLM Foundation transformation division stated her expectation of the comparative study, that she wishes the farmer involved in the study can learn and watch directly and can apply what they have learnt; that is holistic farming concept in their village.
“The members of productive garden now can enjoy the benefits of productive garden farming. They have been very successful within these 4 years and been enjoying the result. So they are blessed to bless. They can share their experience with members from other gardens by facilitating them so they can apply integrated farming technique to improve their life standard,” Said Tuti.
There are also other things observed and learnt by Sahraen and Maubesi productive garden members during comparative study such polyculture, seedbed making, plant rotation, organic fertilizer making using burnt straw as substitute of urea fertilizer, dragon fruit land preparation, cutting, nursery, planting, fertilization and plant care.
Moreover, the members were also equipped with post harvest processing, group management, the benefit of individual or group saving in TLM Saving and Loan Cooperative, effective and efficient clean water utilization that not only for productive garden needs but also for clarias catfish cultivation and poultry farm etc.
One of comparative study participant from Sahraen, Leksi Sufmena who are the group leader expressed his happiness of the chance from TLM Foundation so they can directly learn from successful and independent garden and they can become more open-minded in processing their garden effectively and efficiently.
“On behalf of Niwukor and Sahraen, we want to thank TLM Foundation who has invited us to this comparative study. We are so happy with this study. We are truly inspired with the success of Kolobolon and Lidamanu productive garden. Watching directly and closely like this uplifts our passion. With the new knowledge and experience of dragon fruit cultivation, we can try the method in our gardens,” Said Leksi after the comparative study session.