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  • New children's book teaches the sustainable traditions of West Timorese honey hunters

New children’s book teaches the sustainable traditions of West Timorese honey hunters

Isak Fobia, leader of the Olin-Fobia community, is responsible for guiding the honey harvesting ceremony. Photo by Nanang Sujana/CIFOR
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Isak Fobia, leader of the Olin-Fobia community, is responsible for guiding the honey harvesting ceremony. Photo by Nanang Sujana/CIFOR

As part of the Kanoppi research project, a new book about honey harvesting in West Timor, Indonesia, aims in part to contribute to policy recommendations that increase the comparative advantages of small-scale forestry management practices. 

Kanoppi is a combined effort between the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

Scientist Ani Adiwinata Nawir initially traveled to West Timor to study the forests of Mutis-Timau, curious to see how communities used forests to help their livelihoods while keeping their beautiful landscape in tact. During her stay, she became fascinated with the Olin-Fobia community and their annual tradition of harvesting wild honey from the nearby Mount Mutis Nature Reserve.

She found that their tradition was not only sweet, but also an excellent example of community-based landscape management. Developed into a fair-trade product with help of the World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia, the harvested “Mt. Mutis” honey had become commercially successful around Indonesia, bringing income to the community without involving the felling of trees.

But the story doesn’t end there. After speaking with colleagues from CIFOR, an idea emerged: to create a children’s book that tells the tale of the honey hunters.

Watch: Secrets of the Mutis Honey Hunters (video)

“We observed a knowledge gap between older and younger generations,” says Ani. “Local wisdom and traditions aren’t always being passed on. We thought a book would help keep these traditions alive and motivate young people to learn more about forest conservation.”

She contacted Indonesian children’s book author Johanna Ernawati, who has long been interested in the traditions and origins of Indonesians living in remote parts of the archipelago, like Papua and Timor. She agreed to write the book, Secrets of the Mutis Honey Hunters, which was recently published in English and Indonesian.

Read more: Secrets of the Mutis Honey Hunters (book)

“This was a great opportunity for me to help educate Indonesians about their origin, their ancestry and the uniqueness of Indonesian forest culture,” says Ernawati.

The author used scientific research to inform her writing and also travelled to West Timor to visit the Olin-Fobia community and gather more information – and inspiration.

“The community is fascinating. They are truly sons and daughters of nature. They care about Mother Earth, about animals, the forest and family,” she says. “They know the forest is the source of life for their community, providing water, medicine, and prosperity from the sale of honey.”

Their forest knowledge, she learned, is based on legends and folk tales of the Mutis forest that have been passed down from generation to generation. Children are taught at an early age about the forests’ importance and why they need to preserve it.

The book is now being distributed to schools and government agencies tasked with educating children about the environment, in hopes for more children to understand the same.

A single tree can host more than 100 hives. Photo by Nanang Sujana/CIFOR

TURNING THE PAGE

Secrets of the Mutis Honey Hunters tells the tale of brother-and-sister twins from Bonleu Village in the Mutis Valley. On their twelfth birthday, the twins’ father gives them a special gift: they’re allowed to join the village adults and go honey hunting in the forest.

Bapak Tobe, the village elder, leads a traditional Naketi ceremony for everyone to ask forgiveness of one another, as honey hunters must be pure of heart. The twins then venture into the forest and experience the ancient tradition of honey harvesting.

Readers experience this adventure through colorful images and playful text, which draw upon the research of Ani and fellow experts to teach about the Olin-Fobia culture and landscape.

“We included facts about their traditional houses, flora and fauna, the history of the local people and also how honey is made,” says Budhy Kristanty, a CIFOR communications officer who helped develop the project. “It’s a creative way to educate children.”

The team hopes that the book will be translated into Spanish and French, and a short animated video of the book, shown above, has also been produced.

“We hope other organizations will be inspired by the book to do similar projects,” says Ani. “In Indonesia, we need more efforts to educate younger generations, since they will be the ones to preserve the remaining forests.”

Ani says she and her team have received a significant number of requests from various institutions for the book – as well as good feedback from its audience.

“Our kids usually enjoy playtime the most, but today I started playing the animated video, and they all stopped playing and gathered around to watch,” says a teacher from Madania School in the West Java city of Bogor.

“Then the children all sat down, and I read the book to them. They were all so excited and wanted to hear it again and again.”

By Suzanna Dayne, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News.

For more information on this topic, please contact Ani Adiwinata Nawir at [email protected].

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

This research was supported by USAID and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

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  • Secrets of the Mutis Honey Hunters

Secrets of the Mutis Honey Hunters

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This story book is based on traditions and folk tales passed down for generations by the Olin Fobia people in Bonleu village, South Central Timor, Indonesia. These traditions have been practiced for hundreds of years. As some Olin Fobia traditions and tales are beginning to disappear, the Kanoppi Project and CIFOR are striving to document them before they do. Further, this book aims to motivate the younger generation to become involved in efforts to preserve forests, and to protect forest flora and fauna and their habitats.

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  • Silviculture techniques help farmers improve incomes, develop more productive agricultural systems

Silviculture techniques help farmers improve incomes, develop more productive agricultural systems

Staff measure timber volume in a demonstration plot in Gunung Kidul. Photo by Riyandoko/ICRAF
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Staff measure timber volume in a demonstration plot in Gunung Kidul. Photo by Riyandoko/ICRAF

Two new studies reveal the importance of silviculture for increasing farmers’ incomes in Java and East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.

Planting timber in agricultural systems is a common practice in Indonesia. Farmers often cultivate timber together with other crops to diversify and increase their incomes. Timber acts as a savings bank, only being harvested when large funds are needed. To ensure the best growth of timber, experts recommend that farmers practise silvicultural techniques, which, despite the numerous benefits, are still not widely adopted.

In Gunung Kidul in the province of Yogyakarta and in Sumbawa and South-central Timor in East Nusa Tenggara province, researchers in the Developing and Promoting Market-based Agroforestry Options and Integrated Landscape Management for Smallholder Forestry in Indonesia project explored the factors that encouraged farmers to adopt silvicultural techniques.

Their findings have been published in Agroforestry Systems: Adoption of silvicultural practices in smallholder timber and NTFPs production systems in Indonesia. The project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and is linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

“At the research sites, timber and non-timber forest products contributed significantly to the economy,” said Gerhard Manurung, research leader and agroforestry scientist with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Indonesia. “We found that the most important factors affecting whether farmers would use silvicultural techniques or not were ease of access to the knowledge found in forestry extension services and farmers’ groups, how well they understood government policies on timber and non-timber forest products [NTFPs], the number of land parcels held by each farmer, and the number of tree and other species that the farmer managed.”

He pointed out that most available research on silvicultural practices was usually done in the context of natural forests, whereas this study offered a fresh perspective because it focused on agroforestry systems, or trees on farms.

Silviculture helps farmers develop more productive systems and reap greater benefits. For example, pruning leads to knot-free timber, which attracts premium prices; thinning young trees so that the remaining trees do not have as much competition for light and nutrients generates the highest percentage of heartwood volume, meaning bigger trees for harvest and more timber to sell; and intercropping teak with nitrogen-fixing shrubs helps to increase the trees’ diameter while at the same time improving soil conditions, which facilitates faster and stronger growth and bigger trees.

A staff member prunes a teak tree. Photo by Riyandoko/ICRAF

Timber and NTFPs contributed more than 60 percent to household incomes at the three sites, which was greater than that from agricultural and plantation crops, yet the adoption of silviculture remained low. The researchers found that a lack of resources and access to information stopped farmers from adopting better practices. In Sumbawa and South-central Timor, when there was more access to forestry extension services and farmers’ groups where knowledge was exchanged, the likelihood of farmers adopting better silvicultural practices rose 2–4 times.

The researchers recommended that policymakers, researchers and extension providers should collaborate more robustly, using approaches that put farmers’ livelihoods at the forefront. Research and training should incorporate participatory techniques, which are renowned for their success in fostering problem-solving skills and speeding learning. Additionally, government research centres should provide on-farm support, such as demonstration plots, that allowed farmers to observe changes brought about by improved techniques.

In terms of policies, the researchers proposed that governments encourage intensification of smallholders’ tree products through intercropping, which escalates the rate of adoption. Regulations on the sale of tree products should be simplified and information provided about grading and pricing mechanisms.

The other study, The significance of planted teak for smallholder farmers, focused on Gunung Kidul, where teak is a valuable investment and an important part of cultural heritage. When grown together with other commercial crops, teak agroforestry systems in Gunung Kidul contributed 40 percent of household income.

Typically, teak produced by smallholders has a diameter of 30 centimeters, which is considered suboptimal by the industries in Jepara in Central Java that produce much of the nation’s teak furniture. Thinning trees helps to improve the size and quality of those that remain but often farmers are unwilling to thin because they fear they will lose income. Also, most farmers use wildlings, sourced from forests or natural regrowth on farms, instead of high-quality seedlings or seeds produced in nurseries. Wildlings typically do not grow as well as those produced by skilled nursery operators.

In Indonesia, the value chain for teak consists of smallholders, local traders, wholesalers and processors. Farmers typically sell logs at prices based on information from other farmers. There is a general lack of knowledge about market prices and grading systems, resulting in sales often below market value. Because traders bear the major risk in the transaction, they lower their offers to farmers so as to cover the cost of the risk.

Echoing Manurung and team’s findings, the researchers recommended the use of on-farm trials as a way of stimulating farmers’ interest in improvements. Further, silviculture needed to be aligned with farmers’ needs for short-, medium- and long-term income. For example, by thinning trees farmers could plant short-rotation tree species, which could be harvested in 5–8 years, in between the teak.

The researchers also urged the development of win-win partnerships between farmers and industry, with governments providing incentives and simplifying timber regulations. Information about price and quality needed to be widely disseminated along with silvicultural extension programs. Research centres and industries could provide access to high-quality seeds and seedlings.

By Enggar Paramita, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


This work is linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors

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  • Cracking the candlenut challenge

Cracking the candlenut challenge

Unshelled candlenut. Photo by WICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam
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Unshelled candlenut. Photo by WICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam

Candlenut in West and East Nusa Tenggara provinces in Indonesia has the potential to provide additional income for farmers, but post-harvest handling is necessary.

If you visit the Indonesian provinces of West or East Nusa Tenggara (collectively called Nusa Tenggara), you can easily find lush groves of candlenut trees. Candlenut (Aleurites moluccanus) can survive the provinces’ extreme dry seasons, making it the predominant provider of non-timber forest products.

Candlenut is a flowering tree that produces hard seeds containing fatty acids that yield 15-20 percent of their weight in oil. Presently, candlenut cultivation focuses on extracting the oil for use as a hair tonic, massage oil, in aromatherapy, and as a skin moisturizer. Candlenut is also an essential ingredient in many Indonesian and Southeast Asian cuisines, used as a flavor enhancer, thickener and condiment.

Farmers in Nusa Tenggara often intercrop candlenut with other species, such as coffee, and sell the whole nuts with minimal processing. Since 2013, the Developing and Promoting Market-based Agroforestry Options and Integrated Landscape Management for Smallholder Forestry in Indonesia (Kanoppi) project, which is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), has been working with candlenut farmers to help them improve their livelihoods.

“Like many others in Indonesia, candlenut farmers in Nusa Tenggara follow very traditional methods,” said Aulia Perdana, Kanoppi leader. “They acquired their farming techniques from their parents and, owing to a lack of access to specialist knowledge, usually don’t try to innovate. As well, a lot of projects on candlenut have focused on production without incorporating downstream aspects, like marketing, and this is where Kanoppi contributes.”

Read more: Lack of knowledge may impede economic potential

A farmer readies candlenut shells for processing in Batudulang village, Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara. Photo by ICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam

Perdana said that Kanoppi, now in its second phase, would continue its focus on marketing while exploring more partnerships with the private sector and optimizing production through sustainable management using an integrated landscape approach.

Annually, a candlenut tree produces 30-80 kg of nuts. After shelling, the nuts weigh 25 percent of the original mass and sell for between Rp 10,000 (75 US cents) and Rp 25,000 per kilogram.

In 2016, one of the partners in Kanoppi, Universitas Mataram, conducted a pilot study in Batudulang village, Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, which found that farmers already performed simple post-harvest processes, such as drying the nuts in the sun or with small concrete ovens, soaking the nuts and cracking the shells with tools made from used plastic bottles.

The university compared the difference in revenue between selling whole or processed nuts: 10 kg of whole nuts could be sold for Rp 40,000 whereas dried and shelled nuts sold for Rp 60,000 and the shells for Rp 3,500. Assuming that farmers processed the nuts themselves rather than paying others, the revenue for 10 kg of processed nuts was higher by Rp 23,500 than the same amount of whole nuts.

In practice, if farmers wanted to expand production to include processing, they needed to hire workers, which meant they had to pay wages and transportation costs. Yet when analyzed, the results were still profitable. The university calculated that if the processors handled 1 ton of whole nuts per day they could generate Rp 471,170 of profit, or more than Rp 12,000,000 per month.

Another Kanoppi partner, Threads of Life, conducted field observation of the candlenut value chain in Gunung Mutis, East Nusa Tenggara. They found that farmers and village collectors usually sold to agents who worked for district traders who then sold to larger-scale traders in Kupang and Atambua, who subsequently shipped the product to Surabaya in East Java.

The researchers also discovered that trust was an issue between farmers and traders. Farmers claimed they were paid below market price and that manipulated scales were used to weigh their yields.

On the other hand, traders claimed that sacks might not be fully filled with candlenuts. One trader in Kapan market, Gunung Mutis, said he bought a 7 kg unsorted sack in which he found 1 kg of the overall weight to be dirt and sawdust. According to the researchers, one of the solutions to the lack of trust could be selling through a village-owned enterprise, which could provide competitive prices and services to attract farmers to sell directly to them rather than to village traders.

Read more: Getting down to business: Seminar promotes shift toward inclusive investment

Drying candlenut. Photo by Aulia Perdana/ICRAF

Kanoppi partners Threads of Life and the University of Western Australia conducted a five-day workshop for farmers in Timor Tengah Selatan, East Nusa Tenggara. The workshop focused on making cold-pressed coconut and candlenut oils and building awareness of business approaches. Sixteen participants attended, including women who played pivotal roles in value chains: determining who to sell to, negotiating prices and making deals.

It was imperative for women to understand the production processes and business planning because they could use the knowledge in bargaining and in better marketing of the product.

During the workshop, the participants decided to form a group to market their candlenut oil to the massage spas and restaurants of the neighboring island of Bali, one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Threads of Life identified Bluestone Botanicals as a potential buyer.

When presented with samples, the company’s buyers were so impressed that they instantly bought the remaining stock and committed to buying 10 liters a month from the group. To further promote candlenut production, Kanoppi shared the workshop manual with local communities in Sumbawa and Timor Tengah Selatan, East Nusa Tenggara. 

By ICRAF communications specialist Robert Finlayson and independent communication consultant Enggar Paramita, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors

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  • Cracking the candlenut challenge

Cracking the candlenut challenge

Unshelled candlenut. Photo by WICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam
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Unshelled candlenut. Photo by WICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam

Candlenut in West and East Nusa Tenggara provinces in Indonesia has the potential to provide additional income for farmers, but post-harvest handling is necessary.

If you visit the Indonesian provinces of West or East Nusa Tenggara (collectively called Nusa Tenggara), you can easily find lush groves of candlenut trees. Candlenut (Aleurites moluccanus) can survive the provinces’ extreme dry seasons, making it the predominant provider of non-timber forest products.

Candlenut is a flowering tree that produces hard seeds containing fatty acids that yield 15-20 percent of their weight in oil. Presently, candlenut cultivation focuses on extracting the oil for use as a hair tonic, massage oil, in aromatherapy, and as a skin moisturizer. Candlenut is also an essential ingredient in many Indonesian and Southeast Asian cuisines, used as a flavor enhancer, thickener and condiment.

Farmers in Nusa Tenggara often intercrop candlenut with other species, such as coffee, and sell the whole nuts with minimal processing. Since 2013, the Developing and Promoting Market-based Agroforestry Options and Integrated Landscape Management for Smallholder Forestry in Indonesia (Kanoppi) project, which is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), has been working with candlenut farmers to help them improve their livelihoods.

“Like many others in Indonesia, candlenut farmers in Nusa Tenggara follow very traditional methods,” said Aulia Perdana, Kanoppi leader. “They acquired their farming techniques from their parents and, owing to a lack of access to specialist knowledge, usually don’t try to innovate. As well, a lot of projects on candlenut have focused on production without incorporating downstream aspects, like marketing, and this is where Kanoppi contributes.”

Read more: Lack of knowledge may impede economic potential

A farmer readies candlenut shells for processing in Batudulang village, Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara. Photo by ICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam

Perdana said that Kanoppi, now in its second phase, would continue its focus on marketing while exploring more partnerships with the private sector and optimizing production through sustainable management using an integrated landscape approach.

Annually, a candlenut tree produces 30-80 kg of nuts. After shelling, the nuts weigh 25 percent of the original mass and sell for between Rp 10,000 (75 US cents) and Rp 25,000 per kilogram.

In 2016, one of the partners in Kanoppi, Universitas Mataram, conducted a pilot study in Batudulang village, Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, which found that farmers already performed simple post-harvest processes, such as drying the nuts in the sun or with small concrete ovens, soaking the nuts and cracking the shells with tools made from used plastic bottles.

The university compared the difference in revenue between selling whole or processed nuts: 10 kg of whole nuts could be sold for Rp 40,000 whereas dried and shelled nuts sold for Rp 60,000 and the shells for Rp 3,500. Assuming that farmers processed the nuts themselves rather than paying others, the revenue for 10 kg of processed nuts was higher by Rp 23,500 than the same amount of whole nuts.

In practice, if farmers wanted to expand production to include processing, they needed to hire workers, which meant they had to pay wages and transportation costs. Yet when analyzed, the results were still profitable. The university calculated that if the processors handled 1 ton of whole nuts per day they could generate Rp 471,170 of profit, or more than Rp 12,000,000 per month.

Another Kanoppi partner, Threads of Life, conducted field observation of the candlenut value chain in Gunung Mutis, East Nusa Tenggara. They found that farmers and village collectors usually sold to agents who worked for district traders who then sold to larger-scale traders in Kupang and Atambua, who subsequently shipped the product to Surabaya in East Java.

The researchers also discovered that trust was an issue between farmers and traders. Farmers claimed they were paid below market price and that manipulated scales were used to weigh their yields.

On the other hand, traders claimed that sacks might not be fully filled with candlenuts. One trader in Kapan market, Gunung Mutis, said he bought a 7 kg unsorted sack in which he found 1 kg of the overall weight to be dirt and sawdust. According to the researchers, one of the solutions to the lack of trust could be selling through a village-owned enterprise, which could provide competitive prices and services to attract farmers to sell directly to them rather than to village traders.

Read more: Getting down to business: Seminar promotes shift toward inclusive investment

Drying candlenut. Photo by Aulia Perdana/ICRAF

Kanoppi partners Threads of Life and the University of Western Australia conducted a five-day workshop for farmers in Timor Tengah Selatan, East Nusa Tenggara. The workshop focused on making cold-pressed coconut and candlenut oils and building awareness of business approaches. Sixteen participants attended, including women who played pivotal roles in value chains: determining who to sell to, negotiating prices and making deals.

It was imperative for women to understand the production processes and business planning because they could use the knowledge in bargaining and in better marketing of the product.

During the workshop, the participants decided to form a group to market their candlenut oil to the massage spas and restaurants of the neighboring island of Bali, one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Threads of Life identified Bluestone Botanicals as a potential buyer.

When presented with samples, the company’s buyers were so impressed that they instantly bought the remaining stock and committed to buying 10 liters a month from the group. To further promote candlenut production, Kanoppi shared the workshop manual with local communities in Sumbawa and Timor Tengah Selatan, East Nusa Tenggara. 

By ICRAF communications specialist Robert Finlayson and independent communication consultant Enggar Paramita, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors

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  • Lack of knowledge may impede economic potential

Lack of knowledge may impede economic potential

Interviewing farmers in Southcentral Timor. Photo by Purnomo Sumardamto/ICRAF
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Interviewing farmers in Southcentral Timor. Photo by Purnomo Sumardamto/ICRAF

Farmers in Java and Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia lack information on teak cultivation and non-timber forest products, leaving them with inadequate skills to improve their livelihoods.

Aside from irrigated rice, horticulture and plantation crops, both timber and non-timber forest products are also sources of income for farmers in many areas in Indonesia. For example, in Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, 12 percent of household incomes derive from teak while in West Nusa Tenggara Province, the local government named honey as a flagship product with more than 12,000 households harvesting honey and farming bees. However, to optimize production, farming practices require knowledge, which is not always easy to obtain.

A study by researchers in the Developing and Promoting Market-based Agroforestry Options and Integrated Landscape Management for Smallholder Forestry in Indonesia (Kanoppi 2) project, supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), found that available forestry extension (agricultural advice) services are limited owing to insufficient human resources, learning material and budget. Conducted in 2013 and 2015, the research focused on three districts: Gunungkidul in Yogyakarta; Sumbawa in West Nusa Tenggara; and Timor Tengah Selatan in East Nusa Tenggara. Using a mix of data collection techniques, insights from 500 farmers, extension agents, and extension agency representatives were mined to assess conditions and develop options for intervention.

The research team found only 28 percent of interviewed farmers had received extension advice. This was because the number of extension agents was low compared with the number of villages that they served.  In some cases, these agents handled more than one village, sometimes located in secluded areas, making it challenging to do their job. There was a lack of regeneration, too, with the average age of extension agents being 45 years-old. One of the respondents mentioned that age was a contributing factor that limited agents from working because of decreased physical ability.

Group discussion with farmers in Gunungkidul. Photo by Riyandoko/ICRAF

The extension services in Indonesia have been through major changes, especially, with the passing of Law No. 16/2006, which shifted the authority to conduct extension programs to sub-districts, away from the national level. Subjects that were previously handled by different ministries and departments are now managed under a body called Extension Agency. The law also requires agents to be ‘polyvalent’ or able to provide assistance on various topics ranging from agriculture through fisheries to forestry. In reality, extension agents are generally fluent in only one specialized topic, hence, the polyvalent demand has added another load to agents’ many burdens.

Underlying these challenges, the research team found that budget was a key issue. Wagimin, the extension coordinator at the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Extension Agency in Karangmojo sub-district in Gunungkidul said the operational budget per month for each extension worker was a mere IDR 112,000 (≈ USD 8.20), which was far from enough. In Sumbawa, the annual budget tended to decrease because the extension program was not prioritized by the local government.

A similar situation occurred in Timor Tengah Selatan, where the budget submitted for regional funding was rarely approved. Because it was not prioritized, the dissemination of forestry information remained limited. What farmers mostly received focused on cultivation, nursery and conservation with no marketing and policy aspects. Additionally, there was no forestry extension material being produced, which further hindered farmers’ learning ability.

The research recommended that forestry extension programs should not rely on government alone. In the study areas, non-governmental organizations and private companies were providing extension programs, thus, collaboration should be established in order to increase reach and provide better quality advice. Moreover, voluntary forestry extension agents drawn from the community, who are available in the areas, should be engaged in government programs. Cooperation with research institutions also needs to be fostered so that farmers have access to up-to-date material.

To follow up on the research recommendations, the project held a workshop to help farmers develop work plans and collaborated with the local Extension Agency, other partners and private bodies to conduct training that included voluntary extension agents and leading farmers. For example, in Gunungkidul, farmers were taught how to cultivate and preserve bamboo while farmers in Timor Tengah Selatan were trained in making natural colouring from indigo. Visits to bee farms and a bee research village were also arranged for farmers in Sumbawa to learn how to gain additional income from honey.

Kanoppi 2 aims to improve farmers’ livelihoods through better landscape-scale management, with particular attention on maximizing the adoption of enhanced practices and value chains for timber and non-timber forest products.

By Enggar Paramita and Robert Finlayson, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry News.


This work is linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. ICRAF The World Agroforestry Centre is one of the 15 members of the CGIAR, a global partnership for a food-secure future. We thank all donors who support research in development through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.

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  • Lack of knowledge may impede economic potential

Lack of knowledge may impede economic potential

Interviewing farmers in Southcentral Timor. Photo by Purnomo Sumardamto/ICRAF
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Interviewing farmers in Southcentral Timor. Photo by Purnomo Sumardamto/ICRAF

Farmers in Java and Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia lack information on teak cultivation and non-timber forest products, leaving them with inadequate skills to improve their livelihoods.

Aside from irrigated rice, horticulture and plantation crops, both timber and non-timber forest products are also sources of income for farmers in many areas in Indonesia. For example, in Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, 12 percent of household incomes derive from teak while in West Nusa Tenggara Province, the local government named honey as a flagship product with more than 12,000 households harvesting honey and farming bees. However, to optimize production, farming practices require knowledge, which is not always easy to obtain.

A study by researchers in the Developing and Promoting Market-based Agroforestry Options and Integrated Landscape Management for Smallholder Forestry in Indonesia (Kanoppi 2) project, supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), found that available forestry extension (agricultural advice) services are limited owing to insufficient human resources, learning material and budget. Conducted in 2013 and 2015, the research focused on three districts: Gunungkidul in Yogyakarta; Sumbawa in West Nusa Tenggara; and Timor Tengah Selatan in East Nusa Tenggara. Using a mix of data collection techniques, insights from 500 farmers, extension agents, and extension agency representatives were mined to assess conditions and develop options for intervention.

The research team found only 28 percent of interviewed farmers had received extension advice. This was because the number of extension agents was low compared with the number of villages that they served.  In some cases, these agents handled more than one village, sometimes located in secluded areas, making it challenging to do their job. There was a lack of regeneration, too, with the average age of extension agents being 45 years-old. One of the respondents mentioned that age was a contributing factor that limited agents from working because of decreased physical ability.

Group discussion with farmers in Gunungkidul. Photo by Riyandoko/ICRAF

The extension services in Indonesia have been through major changes, especially, with the passing of Law No. 16/2006, which shifted the authority to conduct extension programs to sub-districts, away from the national level. Subjects that were previously handled by different ministries and departments are now managed under a body called Extension Agency. The law also requires agents to be ‘polyvalent’ or able to provide assistance on various topics ranging from agriculture through fisheries to forestry. In reality, extension agents are generally fluent in only one specialized topic, hence, the polyvalent demand has added another load to agents’ many burdens.

Underlying these challenges, the research team found that budget was a key issue. Wagimin, the extension coordinator at the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Extension Agency in Karangmojo sub-district in Gunungkidul said the operational budget per month for each extension worker was a mere IDR 112,000 (≈ USD 8.20), which was far from enough. In Sumbawa, the annual budget tended to decrease because the extension program was not prioritized by the local government.

A similar situation occurred in Timor Tengah Selatan, where the budget submitted for regional funding was rarely approved. Because it was not prioritized, the dissemination of forestry information remained limited. What farmers mostly received focused on cultivation, nursery and conservation with no marketing and policy aspects. Additionally, there was no forestry extension material being produced, which further hindered farmers’ learning ability.

The research recommended that forestry extension programs should not rely on government alone. In the study areas, non-governmental organizations and private companies were providing extension programs, thus, collaboration should be established in order to increase reach and provide better quality advice. Moreover, voluntary forestry extension agents drawn from the community, who are available in the areas, should be engaged in government programs. Cooperation with research institutions also needs to be fostered so that farmers have access to up-to-date material.

To follow up on the research recommendations, the project held a workshop to help farmers develop work plans and collaborated with the local Extension Agency, other partners and private bodies to conduct training that included voluntary extension agents and leading farmers. For example, in Gunungkidul, farmers were taught how to cultivate and preserve bamboo while farmers in Timor Tengah Selatan were trained in making natural colouring from indigo. Visits to bee farms and a bee research village were also arranged for farmers in Sumbawa to learn how to gain additional income from honey.

Kanoppi 2 aims to improve farmers’ livelihoods through better landscape-scale management, with particular attention on maximizing the adoption of enhanced practices and value chains for timber and non-timber forest products.

By Enggar Paramita and Robert Finlayson, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry News.


This work is linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. ICRAF The World Agroforestry Centre is one of the 15 members of the CGIAR, a global partnership for a food-secure future. We thank all donors who support research in development through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.


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