Skip to content Skip to footer

Permaculture Attracts Community Attention in Sahendaruman

Permaculture became the most interesting program and gained a place in the hearts and minds of the participants in the initial socialization in ten villages assisted by Burung Indonesia in Sangihe Islands Regency, North Sulawesi Province. Some good practices and the success of permaculture practices in previous programs made the community interested and curious to practice it themselves. Permaculture sustainable agriculture also made the community confident and willing to work together with Burung Indonesia for the next five years.

According to Soekarno, a resident of Pelelangen Village, agriculture is the problem most faced by the community today, ranging from soil fertility issues, pests and diseases, unavailability of fertilizers, to the practice of shifting cultivation in protected forest areas. The practice of shifting cultivation is still widely found in the ten assisted villages. Lack of knowledge related to soil fertility and pest management makes people prefer to open gardens deep in the forest.

Although far away, clearing fields in the forest is considered more effective because it requires less maintenance. After clearing the land and planting seedlings, people only need to clean the fields once or twice a month. Until harvest time arrives, people do not need to bother watering and applying fertilizer to plants in the forest, because they are considered fertile.

The community admits that they receive a lot of assistance from the local government through farmer groups for agriculture, but problems with fertilizers and pests are the cause of not maximizing agricultural yields in the village. In addition, the uneven and unsustainable assistance from the government has caused some farmer groups to stop. The expensive price of fertilizers and pesticides has made the community dependent on government assistance.

The permaculture practices presented during the initial socialization in ten villages are expected to be an alternative in improving the community's economy. Training and capacity building in making organic fertilizers and pesticides is expected to be a solution to the high price of fertilizers and the absence of government assistance. With the availability of fertilizers, it is hoped that the community will no longer need to open gardens deep in the forest.

Harvesting peria or bitter melon in a permaculture garden (Photo: Burung Indonesia)

Permaculture becomes the program's attraction

Of the eight main topics in the initial socialization, the permaculture program was the most interesting and gained a place in the hearts of the community. People wondered how permaculture could be a solution for agricultural activities to improve the economy, while still preserving nature.

One positive response came from Belengang Village, which already has a farmer group and a yard garden, but it is inactive because the soil conditions are not fertile even though it has been given fertilizer so that plants cannot grow. Another interesting response was also delivered by Susana Djarang, one of the farmer group representatives from Bowongkali Village. Currently, the farmer group has disbanded because there is no further fertilizer assistance from the village.

He also expressed interest from the community to be trained on how to make their own organic fertilizer. This interest arises not only because of the high price of fertilizers, but also the awareness that is starting to grow in the community regarding the dangers caused by the use of chemical fertilizers. This permaculture program is expected to gradually change the shifting cultivation pattern that has been carried out by some people at the foot of Mount Sahendaruman.