Workshop on Agricultural Diversification and Agribusiness Research Results

On March 28, 2023, Bina Tani Sejahtera Foundation, in collaboration with the William & Lily Foundation (WLF), held a Workshop on Agricultural Diversification and Agribusiness Research Results in the intervention areas of the Agricultural Livelihood Improvement Program (PERMATA). The workshop activity was attended by various stakeholders from the regional leadership, district and village governments, as well as representatives from farmer groups, and the media. The activity was opened by the Head of Regional Governance, Drs. Aryanto Umbu Jawud, who represented the Regent of Southwest Sumba.

The Agricultural Diversification and Agribusiness Research was carried out in collaboration with the East Nusa Tenggara Province Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) from February to March 2023 in 9 villages and 3 districts where the program was implemented, namely Pero, Kabalidana, Weemangura, Weekokora, Weepatando, Kanelu, Weerame, Wee Londa and Wee Rena Villages.

The PERMATA program, which has been implemented since October 1, 2021, and will end on September 30, 2023, has succeeded in assisting 496 farmers. A total of 112 of them have grown various vegetables and managed to significantly increase their knowledge, skills, and income. However, there are still obstacles such as exploiting opportunities for access to finance and marketing, administrative and financial management, and the application of recommended cultivation techniques. To maximize the potential for agricultural livelihoods, 3 BRIN researchers consisting of Dr. Bernard deRosari, S.P., M.P. (Center for Behavioral and Circular Economics Research), Dr. Ir. Tony Basuki, M.Sc. (Center for Food Crops Research), and Ir. Yohanis Ngongo, M.Sc., Ph.D. (Center for Econology and Ethnobiology Research) analyzed the potential, needs and resources support.

The results of this research show that the PERMATA program can trigger the strengthening of the farmer’s work ethic and enthusiasm through technical assistance and training as well as strengthening their capacity in making technical decisions when running agricultural businesses. Farmers have experienced the added value of vegetable farming, being able to adopt knowledge and skills in the process of cultivating various vegetables. The farmers also stated that they would continue this farming activity independently on their respective lands. YBTS assisted farmers who are still classified as “small farmers” have shown increased knowledge, skills, and income.

However, in practice, farmers still experience various challenges, including limited business scale and capital, capacity to manage land resources, ability to manage time and planting schedule, and time-consuming socio-cultural activities. On the other hand, lack of work force and supporting equipment, lack of vision of the household economy, low ability to read market dynamics, and limited technical knowledge and mastery regarding pest and disease control are also challenges they must face.

The Agricultural Diversification and Agribusiness Research produced several recommendations addressed to various stakeholders, such as the Agricultural Service of the Regency Government, District Government, and Village Government. The first recommendation is that it is necessary to improve Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) activities at the farm level evenly, through intensive assistance by field officers. Second, farmers still need assistance to strengthen the sustainability of agricultural businesses by diversifying types of vegetables between seasons to ensure a variety of family consumption and nutrition, as well as to meet market needs, one of which is through One-Village One-Product (OVOP). OVOP is an effort to regulate location-based specifications for vegetable types, and in this case, it will be implemented in the Wewewa Region.

This recommendation received a positive response from the participants, and it is hoped that it will be conveyed to various parties according to their respective roles so that it can be followed up. “Hopefully the results of this research will have a good impact on farmers. I hope that this technical recommendation will be followed up by both the Agriculture Service and other stakeholders, starting with the village head, to support farmers in increasing their income,” hoped Daniel Malo Umbu Pati, Field Extension Officer for Waimangura Village. The Head of Governance Section closed the workshop by thanking WLF, YBTS and BRIN for conducting the studyy and providing valuable recommendations for improving the livelihoods of farmers in Southwest Sumba Regency.

Authored by: Junike (YBTS)

Edited by: Mariska Estelita (WLF)