BEKASI BERKEBUN VISITS INDMIRA

December 7, 2015 - Uncategorized

Prototype of the Pyrolytic Plant for Oil Palm Waste Processing developed at Indmira

Friday, 3 April 2015, is actually a national holiday, but Indmira team is excited to welcome Bekasi Berkebun to learn farming from us. Bekasi Berkebun is one of communal farming groups in Indonesia. Its members come from diverse walks of lives but have one passion: gardening on the available plots. Although they may not have agricultural backgrounds, gardening is not a taboo activity for them.

At around 9 o’clock Western Standard Time, eight members of this group arrived at our office on Jl. Kaliurang Km 16.3. After a short meet and greet, Aryo Wiryawan (Indmira CEO) immediately took them to Amboja Farm. This farm is located on Jl. Kaliurang Km 19 and the place where we do research and produce organic rice and vegetables.

The first stop at the farm was the Fun Farm at Merapi, one of Indmira’s partners on our H2B farming program. This plot of 1000 m2 is a part of the Amboja Farm but is endowed to Koko for his project in developing models for “pekarangan” (yard) gardening. The project was started in early February of this year and there appeared bamboo stakes marking the various vegetables, like chilli, tomato, eggplants, etc, planted on beds. Koko is still trying to figure out the best companion plant combinations for the area. He mentioned one of the advantages of mixed planting in which it could reduce the pest population on the garden. Besides pest control, it is advantageous to have different plants with different needs in the same plot because they use different nutients and so there is no competition.

Koko also emphasized the importance of organic mulch. He said:”I’m using rice straw because it is readily available and cheap, ie. free. It often goes to waste and is usually burned by the farmers. Mulch is very important in regulating the soil moisture. During the rainy season it protects the soil from the heavy rain that usually causes topsoil erosion and in the dry season it keeps the ground moist. And organic mulch becomes part of  a rich topsoil.”.

Irrigation is also an important part in farming. Koko mentioned the first thing he did was setting up the irrigation system. Ponds to retain water were dug at the top of the property so gravity could help supply water to the plots. Use of bamboo pipes, instead of PVC, added a better control of water supply because these pipes could easily be plugged, and a cleaner appearance on the farm instead of the more common earthen watergate. And to reduce erosion on the planting beds, water could be slowed down by making the furrows meander along the plots.

The tour on the Fun Farm on Merapi ended after approximately 45 minutes, when the guests were guided by Aryo Wiryawan on the tour of the Amboja Farm. Besides being a trial farm, Amboja is farmed for horticulture to supply produce for local supermarkets and hotels. Indmira also produce several varieties of rice on the farm; white, red and black. The crops are all healthy, thanks to the use of organic fertilizers that are developed by Indmira. Before leaving the farm, Indmira’s CEO emphasized the practice of responsible farming to protect our environment.

We returned to Indmira’s headquarters to learn more about hydroponics, verticulture and plantation waste recycling. Budi, our main researcher on hydroponics and verticulture, was the guide for the first part. He showed the advantages of these gardening techniques especially for urban setting because they are quite space savers. Verticulture, a vertical gardening, allows the practicioners to stack up the plants in a small space. Hydroponics can make gardening cleaner; and in the cities where soil can be hard to come by, it provides an alternative to a full gardening experience.

Budi futher described the hydroponics practices being tried at Indmira such as Nutriet Film Techniques (NFT) and Drip Irrigation. The vegetables currently grown for these trials are eggplants, red and green amaranths, red and green leaf lettuces, pokcoy, caisim (green pokcoy), and kailan. All fertilizers are developed by Indmira and are showing excellent results.

Aryo Wirawan took over the tour to explain oil palm waste processing using pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic materials at high temperature in the absence of Oxygen. Indmira has beed developing this method to help manage the waste in oil palm plantation. From our research, we can produce a fertilizer rich in potassium (K) and liquefied gas that can be used as preservatives or organic pesticides.

After a break for the Friday prayer, we had lunch at the house of Raminted on Jl. Kaliurang Km 15 and a further discussion moderated by Aryo Wiryawan. The meal was followed by a trip to our research plot on marginal land at Pandansimo beach in Kuwaru, Bantul. The trip was quite uneventful because it was under a heavy rain that made us worried.

Fortunately the rain stopped when we got to the beach where Rohadi had been waiting to guide us at the location. The Pandansimo site is one of our proudest achievements because we have been able to use a marginal land (coastal sandy soil) without having to add topsoil. Using our method and fertilizers, we avoided adding 20 tonnes of topsoil/ha, which could be cost prohibitive and labor intensive. Pandansimo farm are producing rice and horticulture products, as well as long term perennials, such as dates and oil palm.

The drizzle returned that forced us to take shelter at the office, but not before we had a good tour. We continued having conversation at the cozy office until about 6 pm, when the Bekasi team had to leave for their next destination. We hope to host more visits like this as a means to exchange ideas to come up with newer and fresher solutions for the developments of agriculture in Indonesia. (Le)

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