Bali gets award for organic agriculture program
The Bali provincial administration has received a special award from the Agriculture Ministry recognizing its successful organic agriculture program.
Representing Bali, Governor Made Mangku Pastika received the award last weekend in Jakarta.
The award recognizes the flourishing success of the province’s integrated farming (Simantri) program, which offers cash and technical assistance to farmers’ groups willing to adopt organic farming methods and to use alternative energy sources.
“The award has shown that our efforts to develop organic farming in Bali have been fruitful and have received national recognition,” said Pastika in Blahbatu in Gianyar regency.
The governor presented certificates to 10 farmers’ groups in Bali for their organic products.
“I am hoping that the award will motivate us to work harder in improving the Simantri program and in developing the island’s agricultural sector,” the governor said.
Pastika added that the acknowledgement from the central government was seen as appreciation of the province’s strong commitment to develop organic agriculture.
Initiated by the provincial administration in 2009, the Simantri program offers technical and financial assistance to farmers’ groups that are willing to implement a wide array of organic and green practices, from using non-chemical fertilizer to establishing biogas power plants. As of now, there are 325 farmers’ groups that have adopted the Simantri program. This year, there will be 150 new groups.
“Simantri is one of our priority programs to increase farmers’ income and to accelerate the poverty eradication program,” he added.
The retired three-star police general stated that the Simantri program was not only related to planting and cattle husbandry. The important thing is how the farmers get additional daily benefits from the methods. “There’s nothing to be dumped, including cow urine and waste,” Pastika said.
The administration is also encouraging tour operators to create new tourism packages highlighting the Simantri program, which is in line with the island’s efforts to become a green and eco-friendly province. Visitors who purchase the packages will have the opportunity to visit villages where organic farming and green small industries are being developed.
Pastika stressed that many tourists were now willing to spend holidays consuming healthy food. “So, we hope someday, tourists will come to Bali not only for the culture and beautiful nature, but also for healthy living with organic products,” he said.
“I am hoping that Bali will have at least 1,000 Simantri groups. With approximately 100 farmers in each group, it would mean 100,000 farmers were practicing organic agriculture. I think organic Bali is not just a dream,” Pastika said.
Made Astawa from Tumang Sejahtera Simantri group of Blangsinga in Saba village, Blahbatuh, Gianyar, admitted that the Simantri program had brought huge benefits to local farmers. His group has been implementing the Simantri system since 2010 and is producing 10 tons of organic fertilizers and 10,000 liters of bio-urine per year, which is used to fertilize 15 hectares of rice fields in Saba village.
“By implementing the Simantri program, we don’t need to buy chemical fertilizers anymore, and our harvest yields have increased significantly,” Astawa said. The group has also formed a cooperative unit to manage their profits.