Bali Super-Farmer Project

 

 Super-Farmer project

 

Bali’s tourism industry depends on Bali’s ecosystems, its terrace farming and its natural beauty. Currently the tourism industry is destroying the very things that make it viable. Bali’s farmlands are being bought up and converted into unsustainable tourism developments at a rapid pace with little thought of the future. One of the major reasons behind this is the farmers are going broke. With little income from their conventional farming methods, the farmers are caving in to developers offers and walking away from the land. Bali’s sustainability depends on the vitality of its agriculture. If agriculture is destroyed by tourism, tourism will be destroyed along with it in the long run.

THK Bali and Green Warrior  Permaculture have a strategy that can help farmers retain their land by teaching them a more profitable and sustainable way of farming. Most conventional rice farmers make only 25000 rp per day ($2.20 usd), some as low as 11000 rp. ($1.13usd). They believe they make more but have never been taught how to subtract their external inputs from their profits. In their mind the money they get from harvest is the money they make. The external inputs include pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, hybrid seed, transport, threshing and milling. If these costs are subtracted from the sale price of the harvest, the farmer has a very low income.

Using LEISA (Low external input sustainable agriculture) organic farming methods, and diversifying their crops, farmers can easily triple their incomes within 12 months. Farmers take on growing a range of organic crops and using LEISA they no longer pay for chemicals, seed and fertilizer. Integrating animals, fish poultry, vegetables and fruit, the farmer can stack his land and greatly increase the volume of produce and the quality. Organic farm produce gets the highest return from market.

THK proposes to create a project to support and train farmers to upgrade their skills and crops to make higher profits. THK will set up a Super-Farmer collective in which farmers who participate gain the following incentives.

  • Farmers are guaranteed the price of the existing crops for 1 year so they have the financial support to experiment
  • Farmers are each issued with a set of Super-Tools which are superior quality steel handled tools that require a fraction of the maintenance of existing tools
  • Farmers are supplied with the non-hybrid seed needed for organic vegetable farming
  • Farmers receive 1 week field academy training and 1 week work experience training on a working Super-Farm.
  • A percentage of the Super-Farmers crops will be purchased at a fixed price and sold under the Super-Farmer label.
  • Farmers will be supported in the field by LEISA extension workers
  • Farmers are invited for monthly workshops to learn and share new techniques and strategies related to organic farming and related business.
  • Farmers can borrow money from the Super-Farmer collective for upgrading their land or value adding strategies.

Farmers sign an agreement to farm to a set of guidelines to preserve their soils and the environment. They agree to operate to Organic certification standards if they make more profit than they did using conventional methods after 1 year. It is THK’s aim to have the farmers develop a set of ethics tied in with their cultural beliefs.

Stage 1:

 

The first stage is for THK to train several super farmers and convert their land to productive polyculture systems. THK will build several variations so the best systems can be chosen for the next stage of the project. This stage will take 6 months. THK envisages this stage will involve 15 farmers and around 5 hectares. The best of these farmers will be given the option to take training to be trainers. THK will also train 15 Sustainable Agriculture Field Trainers.

 

           Stage 2:

         

The best farmers on the stage 1 program will act as field schools to train the next generations of Super-Farmers in live work experience. The aim is to have farmers training farmers for the work experience training.

Once the final training is complete the farmers are issued with tools and seeds. THK’s extension workers will assist the new Super-Farmer with his initial design and implementation of his organic farm plan

Extension officers will be on call to help these farmers when problems arise or during harvest or planting cycles.

After 1 year of organic farming, farmers can apply for organic certification for their land and will be paid a premium price for their produce.

The farmers in return for this assistance sell some of their produce to the Super-Farmer collective label. They make a promise to farm organically to preserve the soil and ecosystems of Bali for all future generations and sign a MOU to this end.

It is envisaged farmers will form community farmer groups, depending on what area they farm and what products they produce, all organic. Farmers, as they learn and profit ,will police their own organic certification procedures.

The Super-Farmer label will sell to all hotels, restaurants, and cafes and produce outlets that support Bali’s organic farmers. The produce will be high quality and the price will reflect this. Profits will be redistributed to farmers groups.

This project will help Balinese farmers continue to farm their land profitably. It will encourage young landholders to return to the land to farm because it is profitable. The water quality in the catchments will improve because the farmers will no longer use chemicals. The farmers will learn to respect and preserve the wildlife and their ecosystems, as this is part of natural farming. Birdlife will increase because the farmers learn not to shoot them and insecticide will no longer poison them accidently. This project if supported in its initial stages will radically change the economics of agriculture in Bali for the better.

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