Fertilizer and good agricultural practices protects cassava harvests in East Java

Fertilizer and good agricultural practices protects cassava harvests in East Java

“Ibu Nunik and Bapak Tukidjo taught us about good cassava planting techniques during the cassava planting training season,” said Ibu Sriatun, a cassava farmer from Dawuhan village in East Java.

Ibu Sriatun is hopeful about her next cassava harvest in December. The plants have grown faster than normally and she predicts that the harvest will double.

Her plan ahead is to sell dried cassava chips and other cassava products together with the Women Farmers’ Cooperative.  She realizes that there is a real market potential of cassava products. Due to the success of the new techniques, she has also advised other neighboring farmers to use fertilizer.

Ibu Sriatun and her family have been farming cassava since 2004, from which she used to harvest a bit more than 2000 kg of cassava from her small plot of land, which is about only half a hectare. The price of cassava roots is IDR 2,000, or 15 dollar cents, per kg. Ibu Sriatun normally earns only around USD 350 per harvest. From planting to harvest takes about 9-12 months. Now this will be significantly more.

Indonesian cassava farming is known as a poor smallholder farmer’s crop. There are an estimated of 137,000  poor cassava farmers in Trenggalek, many of them making less than 1 Million Rupiah, or $70, per month.

Learning about good agriculture practices and Increasing access to fertilizer  are simple ways to improve cassava farmer livelihoods.

While most of the cassava farmers in Dawuhun village have heard about the benefit of fertilizers but they reluctant to use fertilizer until they have seen the results with their own eyes.

SNV Indonesia works with local agricultural input suppliers who work as fertilizer sales agents. SNV supports these agents to become trainers to the farmers on good agricultural practices, including good planting techniques, weed control and better use of (organic) pesticides

The newly introduced organic pesticides have protected her cassava farms from the embug/uret (pest) attack in February – March 2015.

Furthermore, cassava farmers have seen rapid yield increases after adding fertilizer on their cassava farms.

Successful demonstration plots, also supported by SNV, have visually shown results to farmers. The plots help to promote fertilizer and other good agricultural practices to other cassava farmers.

With funding from the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, funnelled through the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Promoting Rural Income through Support for Markets in Agriculture (AIP – PRISMA), SNV works with international and local commercial partners to increase the rural incomes of cassava farmers.

The PRISMA Project aims to contribute to a 30% increase in net incomes for 1,000,000 poor rural female and male farmers by June 2017.

SNV’s Agriculture sector offers a suite of 11 innovative and complementary solutions for smallholders, addressing systemic challenges in Food & Nutrition Security, Sustainable Markets, Climate Smart Agriculture and Gender & Youth in Agriculture. SNV works across a range of commodities, with a particular focus on eight: coffee, cacao, dairy, livestock, horticulture, cassava, oil palm and rice.