Increasing Productivity through Provision of Nutritious and Cheap Feed
Sumbanese people and cattle are like two sides of one coin. Sumbanese people without animals are not Sumbanese. Their livestock are not so much a source of income as an essential and integral part their traditions.
Formerly, Sumba was known as a livestock producing island. The Sandalwood horses are justly famous worldwide. The population of horses, buffaloes and cattle was once very large and they were widely exported outside the island. But in the last few decades, the population has dropped drastically. There have been many efforts to restore Sumba’s cattle rearing for the Indonesian market, but the results have not been significant.
Nowadays in most communities, pigs are the most common livestock with high local market prices and demand. Almost every Sumbanese family raises pigs. But their growth is slow and the scale is very small. The main obstacle is the limited supply and high cost of good feed.
Commercial Feed Distribution
Responding to this situation, YHS is focusing on developing nutritious and inexpensive local animal feed. In April 2017 YHS partnered with three organisations – Project Promoting Rural Income through Support for Markets in Agriculture (PRISMA), AIP Rural and Yayasan Rumah Energi (YRE), and three feed companies – PT Malindo Feedmill Tbk, PT Sierad Produce Tbk and PT Japfa Comfeed Indonesia Tbk.
YHS’s involvement includes collecting data of potential breeders and potential locations, product introductions or promotions, building collaboration with local agents and making sample animal pens. YHS coordinates with a feed agent and six sub-agents, and with YRE and its partners, and promotes feed products in the markets in Sumba Barat Daya. With the new feed the pigs are healthier and grow more quickly, and the farmers’ profits increase quite drastically.
Feed Processing with Fermentation Techniques
Another initiative is improving the processing of the farmers’ own pig feed. Traditionally the women make pig feed by cooking a mixture of green leaves (cassava, papaya), taro tubers and chopped banana stems. This takes 2-3 hours every day, lots of firewood or kerosene, and hard work.
YHS introduces pig feed made through fermentation using local micro-organisms (MOL). Materials for making MOL are easily planted or obtained locally. This takes much less time and work, no firewood and is much more environmentally friendly. The fermented feed can be stored for several weeks instead of needing to be used within a day. Another impact, there is potential for raising a greater number of pigs per family. With the traditional method a family can only maintain 3-5 pigs.
- When first introduced in Desa Malimada (Kecamatan Wewewa Utara), the community’s response was very positive. In a relatively short time this method is now used throughout Malimada and has spread to other desas and beyond. The local parish has made it a formal parish program and it is becoming very widespread and popular.
Looking ahead, YHS will introduce this technique to many more communities and in particular to the local government, which has the potential to further promote its use through out Sumba.