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Attending BMKG Climate Field School

On the 30th of July 2017, four of’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!

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