Cooperation between YHS, the Sustainable Development Consortium  and Millennium Challenge Account -Indonesia

Pioneering Green Prosperity in the Katewel Watershed

Most of the local people are subsistence farmers, growing crops and keeping animals.  Widely grown crops are rice, corn, beans, sweet potatoes and vegetables.  Family food needs can generally be met with their rice and corn yields although food shortages often occur.

However, there are still many people who do not have access to sufficient vegetables.  The vegetables in the local market are mostly imported from outside Sumba although the local land has great potential for vegetable production. In the livestock sector, the main difficulty is insufficient quantity and poor quality of fodder.  Commercial feed is available but can be prohibitively expensive.

With this background, YHS helped to form the ‘Sustainable Development Consortium’, which consisted of nine local NGOs, two from Timor and seven from Sumba, with the aim of developing horticulture and animal fodder production in three watershed areas in Sumba:  Katewel, Karendi and Kambaniru.   The consortium entered into a contract with MCA-Indonesia for an 18-month project  from July 2016 to December 2017.

YHS was chosen as the coordinator for the Katewel watershed, and worked with Yayasan Sosial Weemaringi to assist 10 villages: Karuni, Loko Kalada, Bondo Boghila, Tanggaba, Totok, Wee Manada, Wee Patando, Mali Mada, Wee Paboba and Puu Poto.

The farmers were taught to use verticulture techniques, mostly using use bamboo platforms to plant their vegetables.   This technique is very suited to rocky and uneven land.  At the end of the project, 100 families are very successfully, growing shallots, kale, spinach, broccoli and other leafy vegetables. Others with better land prepared raised beds and grow kale, peppers, tomatoes and spinach. To support natural agriculture, the farmers were trained to make organic fertilizer and they produced 95 tons of it, for their own use and for sale.

After successfully growing in test beds, 900 families (26 groups in 10 villages) planted animal fodder seedlings of purple sweet potato over 11 hectares, as well as 46,612 seedlings of lamtoro (Leucaenaleucocephala) over 13.1 hectares.

The program also promotes good forestry practices, previously almost unknown here. 200 families (10 groups in 10 villages) planted 9,051 youngsengontrees (Chinese albizia) and 12,823 young calliandra trees.  Of these, 1,657 sengon and 10,421 calliandra are flourishing.

YHS also trained the residents to make local micro organisms (MOL) to help the fermentation of pig food, resulting in their producing 700 liters. This greatly benefits the farmers as it does not use firewood (reducing logging and carbon emissions.  Feed produced with MOL can be stored for several weeks, as opposed to the daily chore of cooking the pig fodder.

Several of these methods have been widely replicated, especially the verticulture techniques and using MOL to make pig food.

Looking ahead, YHS will replicate these good practices in other areas. Also, some groups with potential will be supported post-project so that the small businesses they have started can be expanded and their product quality improved, which with improved management and marketing of the new products will give them a greater and sustainable income.