In his 2,300 square meter land, Suyono plants various vegetables including water spinach, spinach, corn, and lettuce. With his wife, he sells the crops at the Sanggeng Market in Manokwari regency. The income gained from farming, although not as much as he expects due to the pandemic, could support his family and he can also fulfill the dietary needs of his family with produces from his land.
We as farmers must be equipped with the ability to work our land using suitable agricultural technology, plant various vegetables commodities with proper method and produce high-quality crops so that we can gain higher income and fulfill market demand."Suyono
His new profession and passion as a farmer made him interested to participate in an agriculture training hosted by Mnukwar Papua and North Manukwari Agriculture Supervisory Centre in June-July 2021 to improve his skills. He hoped that the training could help farmers in his village to navigate through financial difficulties during the pandemic.
“We as farmers must be equipped with the ability to work our land using suitable agricultural technology, plant various vegetables commodities with proper method and produce high-quality crops so that we can gain higher income and fulfill market demand,” he said.
The training is a part of the Employment and Livelihood joint project, jointly organized by four United Nations (UN) agencies in Indonesia, including the ILO. The joint project is funded by UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN MPTF).
“Agriculture remains one of the priority sectors in Indonesian economy. Assisting farmers to enhance their skills is one way to drive post-pandemic economic recovery while, at the same time, training them to be more resilient, self-sufficient and continue to grow,” said Navitri Putri Guillaume, ILO’s project officer for Employment and Livelihood regarding the importance of the training to support the agriculture sector, particularly in the Eastern part of Indonesia.
Assisting farmers to enhance their skills is one way to drive post-pandemic economic recovery while, at the same time, training them to be more resilient, self-sufficient and continue to grow."Navitri Putri Guillaume, ILO’s project officer of the Employment and Livelihood Project
Although Suyono already has some experience in farming, he said that the training has honed his skills in using farming equipment. The training also helped him and other villagers to know the proper and better farming methods.
“The training has helped changing the mindset of my villagers about farming. They have now realized that they can generate maximum outputs from their front or backyard and do not have to open new land in the mountain to start farming,” he told.
Known as a leader in his village, Suyono also likes to share his new knowledge from the farming training his neighbours and other local farmers. He continues to encourage and support them to utilize their land for farming. He also helps them managing their land by assisting them in opening the land with tractors, raising crop beds as well as planting and caring for the plants.
As a result, up to one hectare of the communal land in Teluk Mubri village has now transformed into farming land planted with various commodities, such as spinach, water spinach, sweet potato, cassava, and corn. The crops are expected to help the farmers gain higher incomes and have better livelihoods.
“Teluk Mubri farmers are actually willing and have high curiosity on the correct farming methods, but they do not have sufficient farming tools. We need to take turn in using the available equipment that becomes a hindrance in boosting our productivity,” said Suyono.
The knowledge on producing pesticide and fertilizer using organics ingredients that can be easily found, more affordable and environmental-friendly has also contributed to the increased income gain. Farmers are now able to save money and reduce production costs by switching from more expensive chemical fertilizer to more affordable organic ones.