Organic Farming and Agroforestry Research and Development Project
NW Bali has good rainfall for only four months of the year. The other eight months are extremely hot and dry, and the productivity of the farmland is limited. NW Bali is also the home for Bali Barat National Park (BBNP) – an area of 15,587 hectares, which includes rainforest, monsoon forest/savannah, mangrove and coral reef ecosystems, all threatened by human exploitation for food, fodder and timber.
To help offset these human resource challenges, this project was initiated to work with farmers’ co-operatives in the area surrounding BBNP to develop and demonstrate water conserving organic farming techniques as well as to lengthen the growing season and thereby increase agricultural production. By thus improving the economic conditions of the local community, the project aims to reduce encroachment on the land and marine resources of BBNP.
This project is part of “Friends of Menjangan,”a community-based conservation program, jointly founded by Biosphere Foundation and Y.D.A.S. It involves collaboration with the Scientific Education and Research Center in BBNP, (managed by the Sustainable Management Group) and The Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI).
In 2012 a low-cost, low-maintenance drip irrigation system, combined with organic fertilizers and mulch from locally available materials, was developed as a demonstration unit.
This system was tested on 4 different farm plots to determine how much water is needed in the dry season to raise a crop through the months of April, May, June and July.
The experiment used drought tolerant crops not normally grown in the area that were beneficial for both human and animal consumption. Additionally, crops were selected to provide an income for farmers such as fast growing and valuable hardwoods and fodder trees as part of an overall, agro-forestry based planting scheme.
The study proved a great success and now 30 farmers in the region are asking to join this program.
Biosphere Foundation continues to work with the objective of reaching as many farmers as possible who want to set up systems to extend their growing season and begin to use cheaper and safer organic production methods.
Particular areas of concentration will include the manufacture and use of organic pesticides, green cropping and live mulching using drought tolerant species; the use of compost teas and EM fertilizers; the introduction of new fodder species; and the introduction of new drought tolerant cash crops.