Farmers Participatory Project in Indonesia

This project consisted of a 0.1 ha demonstration plot and 2.5 ha of production land.

“The main objective of this activity was to develop business of vegetable farming by applying the pitcher irrigation system. The activity was implemented through a Semi-QUE program of the Department of Agriculture and Culture in 1999.”1

In Brief

Type of project: Farmers Participatory Project (field trial on farming business scale)
Country: Indonesia
Place: Sub-district of Surade in Sukabumi
Timespan: 1999
Crops: Hot Chili, TM-999
Soil type: “high percentage of silt content”
Number of pitchers:
Objective: Development of a profit oriented vegetable farming pattern by applying the pitcher irrigation system


The addressed problem

“During the dry season the land was left uncultivated, whilst in the rainy season with a maximum duration of four months the farmers planted it with tubers and cassava. Nevertheless, the rain did not always fall every day during the rainy season. Minimum production or even fail in harvest was often unavoidable when there was no rain in two or three days in a row. During the days without rain the land became dry and cracked due to the high percentage of silt content in the soil. Sometimes the farmers tried to irrigate the land by utilizing shallow wells as water source, yet it was often inadequate. Lack of water resources even forced most of the community to go to a distant spring or river to fulfill their domestic water need. However, the economic condition of the local community was above the poverty line since that area happened to be a trading path and fish catching area of the south coast. With such land condition the need of vegetables and fruits had to be purchased from North Sukabumi area, off-course, with higher price.”1


Optimization of the clay pot manufacturing process

The author addresses the problem of manufacturing thousands of pots and presents a solution applied in this field trial. Following his description of the newly established production processes he concludes:

“The production process of the pitchers seemed to follow industrial manufacturing line process using man labors. No turning device was required in this method and the production process was much easier and less time consuming. The productivity could be ten times as much as that of other method. This local ceramic roof industry could gain more profit by producing the pitchers. With relatively the same selling price, the profit was Rp 100.00/pc for roof as compared to Rp 300.00/pc for pitcher.”1



“So far it was already found out that the use of mulch would save water consumption and prevent the growth of weeds. However, the different kind of mulch materials seemed to show no significant difference in effectiveness except that plastic mulch was much easier to apply. The use of thatch or hay, however, was strongly recommended since it was much cheaper and abundant.”1

“Currently all of the crops have grown with average height of 40 cm; maximum fruits of 110 pieces per plant and minimum fruits of 18 pieces per plant. The difference in yield was affected by the soil fertility level and kind of mulch used. The soil with plastic mulch could grow higher plants with higher yield. Whilst the crops with conventional cultivation had average height of 30 cm and maximum of three fruits per plant, or even no flower has bloomed yet.”1



Finally the author provides a brief outlook on the future of the project:

“The field trial on farming business scale would be conducted in five years time, based on the statement of joint cooperation with the local farmers. In the first year, the role of IPB and the foundation was still predominant not only in investment but also in technical consultation aspects. The role would gradually diminish in the following years; and IPB would become very passive at the end of the project and only active when needed. The farming investment for the following years would be obtained from the sale of the production. The profit would be distributed according to the agreement made where part of it would be allocated for saving or for business expansion.”1

1 Budi Indra Setiawan, Dissemination of Pitcher Irrigation System in Dry Lands, Conference presentation at: China International Conference on Dryland and Water-saving Farming; Project: Micro Irrigations, , 21-23 Nov 2000, Bejing, page 4. See the overview and review here.

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