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Climate Field School: Enhancing Farmers' Adaptive Capacity to Unpredictable Weather

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

Hi, it's Sarah from business team! A month ago I had a chance to accompany Tahir, our engineer to do biogas installation at Desa Gumbrih, Jembrana. It took 2.5 hours to get there from Canggu area. We were planning to install 3 biogas digesters at Desa Gumbrih. I do really enjoy the trip from Canggu to Jembrana, we did not go to the high-altitude area like we used to do the biogas installation at coffee farming, we went to lower altitude at the cocoa farming area. Desa Gumbrih is located near to the beach, the road is really nice, in the midst of the sea and cocoa farming field.

Once we arrived at the location, we received warm greetings from the farmer community. After we did a little introduction to them, we started the biogas installation. We did semi-automate installation with farmers, by that the farmers could learn to install the biogas by themselves. The farmers were really enthusiast to learn about the technical system in installing biogas, they were really active asking some question regarding the bio mass and the gas. Each households in Desa Gumbrih area has at least one cow or pig, that was also one of their main reason they were really interested in Biogas installation. One of the farmer said, every day their livestocks can produces manure until more than 4 large buckets. They had no idea how to manage the manure then the interesting conversation started from this. Our engineer, Tahir informed to them in a simple way that the manure contains two chemical components that can lead to GHG (Green House Gas) and GHGs are responsible for global warming and contribute to climate change, by using Biogas generation system large volumes of manure are digested under low-oxygen conditions to produce bio gas that is subsequently combusted to destroy methane and produce heat that is able to use on Biogas cooking stove and the remaining waste solids are concentrated form of nutrients that can be used as fertilizer. After the short explanation from Tahir, the Farmers are getting more enthusiast in using biogas, and the most interested thing is the fact that they weren't only exciting about the outputs of biogas as a beneficial use for them, but the other thing that they were delighted about is Biogas as one of the mitigation efforts of climate change, and the farmers are keen to discuss more with us.

The farmers are already familiar with climate change from the Climate Field School program with BMKG that was conducted on last year, the farmers concern that climate change is one of the main reason of the unpredictable weather that causes poor harvest. One of the senior farmers mentioned, on his era it was really easy to predict the weather by checking on Balinese ancient wooden calendar called Tika, it was pretty accurate to guide the farmers manage their farming and harvesting activities. Now, they are no longer able to rely on Tika. The farmers admitted that climate change has severe impacts on farming, the increase in temperature and the changing frequency and intensity in rainfall. It's very hard for farmers cope once you're midway through a farming cycle, especially if you are on a long cycle crop like cocoa, the farmers informed that harvesting season for cocoa is every 6 months and lasts from 10 - 14 days. Beside the unpredictable weather there is another thing that might be potential cause for poor harvest, carbon dioxide changes in the air are having an impact on the nutrients content of the crop, that condition drives farmers to increase the quantity of fertilizer to improve the quality of the corp. The dilemma due to this unpredictable weather is farmers are afraid they will wasting on the fertilizer as when the sudden rain comes, it will wash away the fertilizer. It does frustrate the farmers.

Anticipate poor harvest due to climate change

It is more about having a better information. By joining Climate Field School, the farmers shared that they received a better understanding in climate change adaptation and mitigation. BMKG has technology to give the accurate information about the potential upcoming weather in specific area, after the Climate Field School conducted, BMKG officers briefed the lead of cocoa farmers community to make a whatsapp group between the officers and other farmers as a media for the officers to provide and share about the information of the daily upcoming weather prediction. The farmers said it does really help them to anticipate and decide the action points in farming process. Until today, The officer actively share the weather information everyday.

Additional information, during the transformation to climate smart farming in Desa Gumbrih, The cocoa farmers have relied on coconut since coconut tree is the shade tree of cocoa. The farmers said coconut tree is way more resilient to unpredictable weather rather than cocoa, even the income that they earned from coconut was not as profitable as cocoa.

That's the story of the implementation of climate smart farming and the strategy of improving farmers' adaptive capacity to climate change through Climate Field in School in Desa Gumbrih. Thank you for reading & I published this article on April 22, Happy Earth Day!

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