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In Harmony with Nature, Farmers from Balayon Practice Permaculture

The permaculture method can be one solution to the rise of unsustainable agricultural activities. In principle, permaculture incorporates elements of organic farming in the use of materials, and emphasizes design, in planning agricultural models. In Balayon Village, Banggai Islands Regency, there is a couple who has successfully developed the permaculture method that is followed by people around them and can even earn a lot of income.

Aswin M. Sarideng (43) and his wife, Ollivia S. Palason (32) have successfully developed a liquid organic fertilizer (POC) in their home. At first, they produced POC only to utilize kitchen waste and personal use. In combination with producing POC and practicing permaculture on their own land, Ollivia and her husband are often asked to train farmers in the surrounding area. By 2024, they had trained dozens of farmers from within and outside the village.

"In December 2023, we had an order for chili seeds. Komba-Komba village using its village fund ordered 25,000 organic chili seeds and 300 liters of liquid organic fertilizer," Aswin said.

While providing training, they also try to campaign for biodiversity conservation efforts to neighboring villages. They gained knowledge about biodiversity from a series of trainings and discussions, and even Burung Indonesia's activities made them realize the importance of spreading the spirit and awareness to the wider community about the importance of protecting nature.

Aswim and Ollivia's permaculture garden (Photo: Burung Indonesia/Ainun Ade Putri)

There was one case in particular that made the couple's name even more recognizable to farmers. The story begins when Aswin and Ollivia were asked to provide training on permaculture to farmers in Baka Village. Upon arrival, Aswin noticed something was wrong with one farmer's method of growing shallots.

According to him, the shallot plants did not develop optimally in the existing planting plots. Therefore, to prove his assumption, Aswin redesigned the existing shallots on two plots of land to grow onions covering 72 square meters. Then, he left 15 plots of land as they were originally.

Aswin guaranteed to compensate if the two plots of land he converted failed to harvest. However, three months later, the converted shallot fields were able to produce a harvest of 350 kilograms from 15 kilograms of seeds. Meanwhile, the other 15 plots of land experienced crop failure. Since that incident, the names of the two men have become increasingly recognized by the wider community.

Ollivia and her husband also manage a variety of plants such as tomatoes, chili, water spinach, eggplant, mustard greens, shallots, lemongrass, and celery on a 60 square meter plot of land in their yard. Thanks to her diligent efforts in managing this business, they earn additional income, including their children's school costs.

"I no longer have to worry about the children's snacks. Even the school costs for Ocin and his younger siblings, we earn from this business," says Ollivia.

Story by Ainun Ade Putri | Burung Indonesia Community Facilitator

Aswin packing his liquid organic fertilizer (Photo: Burung Indonesia/Ainun Ade Putri)