Back to Manggarai for Organic Farming – Caritas Indonesia – KARINA

Back to Manggarai for Organic Farming


All members of Keba’s Farmers Group have plant organic vegetables in the community field and in their own garden. They also keep producing solid and liquid organic fertilizer, also various pesticides to be sold to others or for group members. That were some knowledge learned from the three months monitoring activity by KARINA in the assisted community in Caritas Diocese of Ruteng on October 10-15, 2016.

One of the farmer’s groups which was visited was Kampung Keba community, at Popo Village, District South Satar Mese, Manggarai Regency. This community consists of 26 people (16 women, 10 men) from Parish Todo area. The Keba Community leader is Mama Maria Suel, who had represented the assisted farmers from Caritas Diocese of Ruteng on “Farmers Conference” that was held by Caritas Asia in Yogyakarta on April 19-22, 2016.

Donatus Akur, Program Coordinator KARINA, pada saat melakukan kunjungan di Kampung Teba (Foto: KARINA).
Donatus Akur, Program Coordinator KARINA, during the monitoring in Kampung Teba (Photo: KARINA).

During the monitoring activity, Mama Maria explained about the last condition of Keba Community to the monitoring team. “Since July until October 2016, we have done and engaged in some activities, such as attending socialization about group spirituality which are solid, independent, and harmony in Parish Todo level; making solid and liquid fertilizer, as well as pesticides; establishing solid and liquid organic fertilizer warehouse; and taking care of the goats.”

Besides the activities above, all community members are actively planting vegetables in their own field. If counted since July 2015 until October 2016, it has already been one year and four-months for Caritas Diocese of Ruteng to assist Tani Keba Community. On those time spans, there was so much benefit that could be received by every community member. Those benefits included the loss of daily budget for buying vegetable and chemical fertilizer. This day, the needs of vegetable could be fulfilled by community members. Moreover, some of the crops were sold and the benefits could be used for other needs, like education and health.

Ibu-ibu anggota Kelompok Tani Teba mencacah daun-daunan sebagai bahan dasar pupuk organik (Foto: KARINA).
Women from Kelompok Tani Teba chopped leaves as a basic ingredients for organic fertilizer (Photo: KARINA).

Meanwhile for the needs of fertilizer, right now the community members didn’t have to spend much money to buy chemical fertilizer. Back then they used to depend on the expensive chemical fertilizer. Now, every community members could already produce their own solid and liquid organic fertilizer. They even could produce a natural pesticide. This fertilizer becomes the main need for farmers on agriculture. If the plants were not fertilized, the cultivated land won’t produce good results.

Other advantages they felt are the ease of getting a loan, even it’s still in small scale. Through discussion and mutual agreement in the community, they build an Usaha Bersama Simpan Pinjam (UBSP-savings and loans). The basic capital of USBP is the result of selling vegetables, added by 5.000 IDR monthly fees. Until now, the USBP stock had reached 3.000.000 IDR. Every community members could submit a loan with 2% loan interest, based on the mechanism that had been agreed to. The average community member take a loan from the UBSP for their children’s education needs, either it is Primary School, High School, Senior High School, or University. “The success and benefits that the community felt have attracted a lot of people to learn about organic farming,” said Mama Maria Suel.

Looking at the success story of Keba Community, Pius Karu (46) firmly decided not to work in Kalimantan anymore. Mr. Pius joined the Keba Community after his wife, Maria Mamas (38) asked him to go back to Manggarai – Todo. Mrs. Mamas explained, “my husband works in Kalimantan for 4 years. There, he sends money only enough to buy food. Where the main purpose of going there is to get a better fee to change the family’s economy. Because of that, I ask him to get back to Manggarai. It is better to work here, so we can support our family together”.

Mr. Pius Karu during the monitoring activities with Caritas Diocese of Ruteng and KARINA (Photo: KARINA)

After Mr. Pius arrived in Manggarai, Ms. Mamas then introduced her husband to the existence of the community, assisted by Caritas, and also asks him to join. After looking at how this farming community works, then Mr. Pius joined. Until now, he feels happy and is actively involved in the community activities. He finally feels sure and chooses not to go to Kalimantan or other places.

“What my wife said is right. Actually, I have planned to go home for a while, but I feel interested in this farmers community followed by my wife,” said Mr. Pius. He feels that this community really helps people in need like him. The women here can make money from planting organic vegetables. Besides, every community members are actively following the activities. They help each other and also can work together well. Looking at this condition, Mr. Pius decided to join the Keba Community. “Right now, I already could make MOL and organic fertilizer, solid or even liquid,” said Mr. Pius remembering the old days when he joined the community for the first time.

Ibu Maria Suel, ketua Kelompok Tani Keba, memperlihatkan proses pembuatan pupuk organik (Foto: KARINA).
Mrs. Maria Suel, leader of Kelompok Tani Keba, showed the process of making organic fertilizer (Photo: KARINA).

Now Tani Keba Community has become a place to share experience and knowledge about organic farming to the local people. They become a community that produces solid and liquid organic fertilizer, MOL and natural pesticide. And now this community has a supply of 1-ton solid organic fertilizer, 96 liters of organic liquid fertilizer, and 8-liter pesticide in their warehouse. Many people come to buy solid and liquid fertilizer, as well as the pesticide. This, of course, are very encouraging, because the result of this fertilizer and pesticide could level up the community financial sustainability in a better way. ● DA


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