Describe your implementation:
The target areas were degraded and not feasible for agriculture before, safe for an agricultural model unsuited to smallholders and heavily reliant on chemical fertilizers. By identifying combinations of plants that work well together and applying a number of natural improvements to fertility, the fields have been revitalized. The first key step was the planting of Paraserianthes Falcataria, a fast-growing pioneer species, that requires little nutrition, improves the soil with nitrogen fixing, combat erosion and generates income for the famers.
In the next step, additional plants, such as timber species with longer rotations, vegetables and fruits have been planted, based on a field-by-field analysis of soil, water and environmental conditions. The planting has been facilitated by further soil improvement through compost and mulch. Each planting cycle, additional plants were and still are added, and the best practices get updated, as we gather more data.
An additional component, focused on the wood-processing industry was implemented to ensure demand stays stable and farmers have market access. Cooperation with companies meant, that the farmers could be convinced to participate, as a buyer was ready.
The key factor to a successful implementation was a strong focus on community work. Since the farmers were operating at their own risk, the community engagement based on FPIC standards had to be intensive, credible and open towards suggestions, complaints and input. Convincing the first farmers was the hardest (65 in the first year), but then people saw first results on the fields and joined in greater numbers.
One major obstacle was the complete absence of land titles in the communities. All land belongs to the state forest estate. Currently, applications for transfer of ownership to the communities are under way. In the past, close cooperation with the government was important to reach a certain level of security.
Since the beginning of the project, we have cooperated with a number of different stakeholders in forestry, agriculture, education and public administration.
An important partner was the provincial forestry agency (Dinas Kehutanan Kalimantan Tengah), providing support to the project and input for scaling, land rights issues and lisences).
The project has also implemented activities along the value chain of the timber in cooperation with companies (PT Albasia Bhumiphala Persata, PT Sumbermas Plywood) from the wood-processing industry, ensuring farmers have a buyer for their timber. In addition, product innovation and export promotion activities contribute to the transformation of the sector towards sustainable resource use. Currently, cooperation with buyers for the agricultural products is under exploration.
Cooperation with educational institutions on different levels was initiated in order to strengthen local capacities in regard to forestry, agriculture and sustainability. Farmers recived training in technical and financial matters, students from the local university (UNPAR) and agricultural school (Sekolah Pertanian Tumbang Lahan) were included in project activities, and capacity building for the public sector was always a part of the project.