On the 30th of July 2017, four of su-re.co’s team members attended one of BMKG’s Climate Field School session in West Selemadeg, Tabanan, Bali. Here is an insight of what we learnt during this interesting morning.
What is the Climate Field School Program?
BMKG is the Indonesian Agency for Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics and has four global purpose to observe, explain, collect data and organize the activities linked to meteorology, climatology and air quality monitoring.
As BMKG realized that it was hard for the Indonesian farmers to understand the weather data and act accordingly, BMKG decided to organize a Climate Field School program dedicated to them with the support of the agricultural agencies of the provinces concerned. Several sessions have already been carried out in Indonesia and the one we attended was the second session in Bali.
The objectives pursued include:
- To teach and spread the basic meteorological and climatological knowledge among the farmers communities and to turn it into a practical language.
- To help the farmers improve their activity by sharing with them weather insight and by identifying the different causes of crops damages.
- To contribute to improve the food security in Indonesia.
- To build partnership with the farmers to improve BMKG observations by setting up a set of equipment in their field.
How does a common Climate Field School session look like?
A Climate Field School session is subdivided in ten sessions, usually gathering 25 farmers every ten days. Spreading those 10 sub-sessions over 100 days allows BMGK and the farmers to lead concrete measurements and observations directly on control sample crops, in this case is paddy. Thus, it simultaneously provides concrete and theoretical knowledge to the farmers. A sub-session is divided in two key moments:
- Field observations, measurements and reporting
BMKG built a meteorological cage that measures the temperature, rainfall and humidity for the farmers. Therefore, the 25 farmers started reporting the measurement readings of those three variables and crop conditions after conducting observations on the weather parameters and sample crops under BMKG team’s watchful eyes.
Once those first tasks are completed, the farmers gave the report on a template provided by BMKG. Right after, a meeting is organized to allow farmers to share, discuss and comment together the results they obtained from the observations.
- Meteorological lecture and practical exercises
After a short coffee break, the farmers were gathered again to attend carefully a lecture about meteorological parameters and instruments. The ten lectures the farmers received during the whole Climate Field School session aims to share meteorological and climatological insight, so that the farmers will be able to understand the weather forecasts and data that BMKG will provide for them. Thus, this would be a good step towards a climate smart agriculture in Indonesia.
After the lecture, a training workshop allowed the farmers to apply the lesson, and to ensure they understood it well. It basically consists on matching the meteorological instruments introduced to them to their use and the proper unit of measurements.
Besides, BMKG also invited an expert from the Agency of Agriculture in Bali. He was expected to assist the farmers in identifying the issues of the sample crops. This part is highly essential since most of the issues attacking the crops are not caused by a single variable, and commonly multidimensional. For instance, a crop damage is not only caused by the pests, but also other factors such as weather and weed. This case will present another issue if the farmers are only familiar with, for example, pests, since they might just spray pesticides whenever they find the crops suffer from uncertain damages. The expected output is to avoid any mistreatment for the damaged crops as a consequence of the lack of knowledge among the farmers.
Climate Field School program’s outcomes
Since 2010, the BMKG’s initiative has been showing encouraging results as it has reached more than 3,600 extension workers in Indonesia and managed to improve the farmers’ yields significantly. The current plans for BMKG is to hold Climate Field Schools in 33 provinces – all the Indonesia’s provinces excluding Jakarta) and to extend the program to fishermen.
As improving the knowledge of the farmers is a part of the Climate Smart Agriculture, Climate Field School is a good initiation in improving the agriculture in Indonesia. A possibility to expand this programme to other crops such as estate crops (e.g. coffee and cocoa) would be an opportunity to increase the numbers of the more resilient farmers in adapting to climate change. Seeing this opportunity, we are putting an effort to integrate our projects with BMKG’s CFS to achieve resilience among a wider range of farmers.
To be continued then!
On the 30th of July, four people of su-re.co’s team went to Jembrana to meet Ketut Windya and Gusti Cakra, the farmers we are collaborating with on adapting climate change. This one-day trip to the West of Bali was our opportunity to follow up on the results of several climate change solutions implemented by the farmers and su-re.co. Here we go!
Our meeting with Ketut Windya
After an early morning awakening, we took the road together in Takeshi’s car to join Ketut at his place located in the village of Candikusuma. As we were reaching our destination, the sound of a dog barking warmly welcomed us and simultaneously informed Ketut of our presence. After sharing some news, he brought us to the area where he harvests cacao using the bio-digester su-re.co previously designed and provided to him.
He gave us some encouraging feedback about the use of the bio-fertilizer produced by the bio-digester. As a matter of fact, he noticed that the trees fed on bio-fertilizer bore more fruits than they normally do. Therefore, he intends to extend the use of the natural fertilizer to his other cacao trees and is optimistic concerning their yields.
Lastly, we were happy to learn that Ketut uses the biogas produced by the bio-digester to light his place and to cook family meals. Thus the bio-digester system provides an excellent alternative to fossil fuels such as LPG or even worse to wood fire, a severe cause of respiratory diseases.
Our meeting with Cakra
Step one complete! Everybody jumps back in the car to head to our next destination: Cakra’s coffee farm located in Melaya Village. As we got out of the car we turned down the wrong road but Cakra kindly found us and led us to his coffee field.
If there’s one thing to know about Cakra, it’s his sincere love of his work. The way he speaks about his plantation reveals how careful and attentive he is when it comes to farming. As a very hard-working person, he explained to us that he was the only farmer who managed to get good results with the coffee plants, when he transitioned from cacao to coffee along with some other farmers. And it’s no wonder why: he’s always willing to try innovative practices to improve the quality of his hand-made and natural harvest. The example that underlines this best is his current attempt to set up concrete agroforestry experiment in his coffee plantation. As sun exposure mainly entails a higher water consumption, the erosion of the soil and loss of quality, Cakra grows his coffee plants under coconut palms in the shade.
Cakra’s coffee plant shaded by coconut palms
Cakra’s meticulous nature can be found again in the way he harvests his coffee. He picks the ripe coffee cherries one by one to make sure his coffee’s aroma will be as best as possible. Then, he singles out the natural dry process to avoid wasting water; this allows the impregnation of the coffee seed with sugars and other components present in the mucilage. Moreover, saving water seems to be a wise decision as su-re.co’s climate projections indicate that Jembrana will experience a noticeable raise of temperatures and a reduction of rainfall volume. As a result, Cakra’s coffee is unique, hand-made, natural and adaptive to climate change.
However we noticed that Cakra could improve the way he selects the coffee cherries on the plants. Indeed, as the following photo reveals it, he picks many yellow ones which are not ripe enough to express all the intensity of the Arabica coffee’s flavor. Therefore our next objective is perfectly clear: communicating this to him and helping him improve this step in his process!
Cakra showing us the natural dry process
Cakra told us that the use of the bio-fertilizer produced by the bio-digester we provided also showed good results. According to him, it allowed more coffee flowers to bloom on the coffee plants: we are looking forward to tasting his next harvest! Another good point is the fact that he also uses the biogas provided by the bio-digester for cooking his familys meals. We are happy to see that su-re.co biogas project actively participates in reducing the risk of respiratory diseases among the farmers we are collaborating with.
Time to go home
We finally arrived at home and this very good day was already turning into great memories. This trip gave us the opportunity to realize how concrete our action is. That isn’t always an easy task as we spend a lot of time managing it from behind our computer screens. A conclusive journey that allowed us to go back to our goals’ roots. The way Takeshi glowed with happiness undoubtedly showed it!
Written by Antonin Rhodes
On 3rd – 7th of April 2017, su-re.co colleagues and Anna Carlsson, a student from Lund University, working together in INSIST Project (collaboration project between European Commission and KTH Royal Institute of Technology) regarding assessment of bioethanol production focusing on sugarcane. The team did a data collection through interview and FGD from sugarcane farmers, sugar unit producer, bioethanol producers and government staffs.
The aim was to assess the current condition of bioethanol fuel grade production and its potential improvement. Since Indonesia has various biomass resources and the Government also target up to 20% of bioethanol in blending fuel program, it is important to prepare strategies to achieve the target. East Java is known to be the first sugar producer in national level. Therefore, molasses and bagasse have high possibility as potential feedstock.
Some of interesting findings were found in this trip. Even though East Java is a region with the highest sugar production, around 50% of national level, the amount is still much lower than demand. For example, 5 tonnes of sugar demand can only be fulfilled by 40% of total demand. Thus, imported sugar now is still needed. This condition is affecting the current availability of bioethanol feedstock: molasses. There is only one fuel grade bioethanol producer in East Java “PT. Energi Agro Nusantara” that participate in blending fuel program. However, since world oil price is currently going down, this factor also influencing market availability of bioethanol. Based on field trip data, the analysis and also recommendation to have alternative strategies of fuel-grade bioethanol implementation are now being conducted.
We have installed a removable bio-digester system at our office with the capacity 1m3. After the first charge, the system needs between 1 and 3 weeks to set up. During these week, it is not needed to feed the system in order to allow the bacteria digesting the waste anaerobically in the bag. During the operation, the feedstock should be fed into the system regularly to avoid the deficit of biogas yield. Currently, biogas is produced every 3-4 days and last up until 20 minutes. The results showed various duration of biogas usage, from 8 minutes up until 25 minutes of cooking. We have tried doing little experiments to cook based on biogas production: boiling water, cooking egg and roasting coffee. These food ingredients were well cooked but still unable to do continuous cook because the biogas system will require more time to produce gas.
Recently, when we were roasting some coffee beans, biogas pressure was manually controlled by pushing removable biodigester so that biogas can reach the stove. As a result, sometimes the flame was too high or low and this condition will impact the condition of coffee roasting. Thus, further analysis and improvement are still required to finally have a good quality of roasted coffee.
Tags: biogas, household scale, removable, biodigester
The 2nd Bioenergy International Workshop was held in Bali, Indonesia from the 22nd – 24th May 2017 as a continuation of the 1st Bioenergy International Workshop in 2016. This event is a collaboration between two European Commission co-funded projects: GREENWIN and TRANSrisk engaging with local partners, Sustainability & Resilience Co (su-re.co) and Udayana University. The workshop was attended by 52 participants from different backgrounds: government, the private sector, NGOs, farmers, and researchers. The workshop encompassed a seminar, stakeholder consultation, brainstorming, survey, and focus group discussion. The main goal of 2nd bioenergy workshop was to shed further light on the opportunities of biogas in Indonesia with critical reflections on the associated risks and barriers. This objective is based on the findings of the 1st Bioenergy Workshop where small scale biogas was selected as a priority technology based on a multi criteria assessment.
At the beginning of workshop, a set of presentations were shared by related stakeholders as lessons learned regarding biogas deployment. Following that, a stakeholder consultation was carried out to identify the attitudes of biogas development in Bali using the Q-method. To promote this technology, business opportunities of biogas were discussed among participants using business model canvases. Then strategic action plans were formulated by three stakeholder groups: policy makers, researchers/engineers and farmers (biogas adopters) using Technology Needs Assessment (TNA). Overall, the stakeholders acknowledge the benefits of biogas for energy security in rural areas, however, biogas development is hindered by several issues like competition with subsidized fossil fuels and access to funding support. This workshop successfully identified biogas opportunities and a strategic action plan for accelerating biogas adoption, for example, partnerships and collaboration are required among relevant stakeholders. The result of exercises will be the main base for determining the next focus topic for the 3rd Bioenergy International Workshop which will be held in the mid of 2018.