Taking a Peek at KKN UGM Training at Indmira

December 20, 2015 - Uncategory

Gadjah Mada University (UGM) regularly sends out its students to Field Study Programs (KKN) every year. This year, there about 300 student groups departing to various locations all over the country to learn how to empower the locals. One of those sites is Desa Lewintana.

This village may sound foreign to many of us. Yes, Lewintana village is a hamlet in Bajo, Soromandi subdistrict , Bima district, NTB (Nusa Tenggara Barat : West Southeast Isles Province). This area on Sumbawa island is still underdeveloped. This state is related much to its dry condition, which is often difficult to obtain water, even thoug it has a high potential for the development of integrated agriculture, which combines farming and animal production. Locals let livestock free range, instead of keeping them in pens, because of the difficulty to gather feed, which only exacerbates the farming situation. The farmers are doing this despite the presence of 500 ha of demonstration area nearby.

Looking at these conditions, this KKN UGM team has a mission to do an “Intensification of Integrated Farming Based on Animal Husbandry practices by developing UMKM (Micro, Small, and Midsize businesses) to improve the local economy”. This is the second KKN team from UGM to this location and is leaving in the beginning of July 2015.

One of the activities they want to develop to support their program is verticulture, ie. planting vertically. And to prepare themselves for this method of agriculture, they approach Indmira, who provides not only the training but also other products in farming and fisheries.

Their activities with Indmira took place on Saturday, 17 May 2015. KKN Lewintana team met at Indmira headquarter on Jl. Kaliurang Km 16.3 at 08:00 West Standard Time. From there, they went together to Fun Farm on Merapi (FFM) three kilometers north of the head office. FFM is one of Indmira’s partners on H2B Pertanian Program and managed by Koko Sasongko. There was a 30 minute discussion on organic farming and guild/companion planting. These practices are appropriate for the utilization of home gardens because they are safe and can improve the livelihood of families. At the end, the take home message is to use plants that are needed and appropriate for the locals, so that these plants can readily adapt to the location.

After the FFM visit, the team members returned to Indmira HQ and were welcomed by the company’s CEO, Mr. Aryo Wirawan. For another 30 minutes, he described the complexity of agriculture and the need for people from all disciplines to contribute to it. He gave an example of Indmira as a company in agriculture that was founded by civil engineers. He encouraged the students from all studies to learn about and participate in farming. This seesion was followed by a tour of the facilities led by Mr. Bob Singadikrama.

The highlight of the day came from Mr. Azmy Basyarahil. An UGM alumn and majored in Economics, he shared his experience in starting a KKN program in Papua. He illustrated his presentation with lots of photos and videos. His story started with a naive group of students facing the hard reality of a life in the frontier and ended with continuing development and support for the region. He encouraged the students to take off their privileged upbringing, adjust to their surrounding and embrace the locals.

The day was ended with a verticulture practice. Some participants got to make a karpet-talang (Vinyl sheet for gutters) cylinder that could hold about 12 plants, with the dimensions of 30 cm in diameter and 90 cm in height. The others constructed pots from used water bottles, which could be hung on the wall and stacked up vertically. The potting mix used in this exercise was three parts soil, one part manure compost, and one part rice husk charcoal. Verticulture requires small area and less water, reduces weeds, and can enhance the aesthetic. The event ended at 15:00 and this Lewintana team was one of the many teams taking verticulture training at Indmira. Would you like to join? (Le)

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