Improving Horticultural Farming Productivity Strategy through Seed Breeding Training and Pest Management in Golo Pua Village, Kuwus District, West Manggarai Regency

In 2023, a collaboration between the Golo Pua Village Government and the Gugah Nurani Indonesia Manggarai Barat Community Development Project (CDP) has resulted in a significant initiative in the development of horticultural farming in the village. Focusing on the implementation of Drip Irrigation System, the agricultural horticultural land area used covers approximately 2 hectares. In this location, the predominant crops are three varieties of chili peppers. The use of Drip Irrigation System represents a progressive step in improving water efficiency in farming. This system allows water to be delivered directly to the plant roots using small pipes or hoses, significantly reducing water wastage. Thus, it not only conserves water but also reduces the risks of soil erosion and excessive fertilizer use. The program aims not only to increase agricultural productivity but also to strengthen environmental sustainability and the socio-economic well-being of the village community. By utilizing drip irrigation systems, efficient water use and waste reduction become the primary focus in maintaining ecosystem balance and minimizing negative impacts on the environment.

This collaboration not only benefits farmers and the community of Golo Pua Village directly but also has broader impacts. Several highlighted benefits include: (1) Improved Water Use Efficiency: The Drip Irrigation System helps reduce water wastage and enhances efficient water utilization, which is crucial in increasingly arid environments vulnerable to climate change. (2) Increased Production and Quality: With the use of modern technology, chili production can be enhanced while maintaining its quality. This will have a direct impact on farmers' income and the availability of quality products for consumers. (3) Sustainable Agricultural Development: Innovative measures such as the use of Drip Irrigation System are part of the transition towards more sustainable agriculture, which not only addresses current economic needs but also environmental concerns and long-term sustainability.

From March 20th to 22nd, 2024, the Gugah Nurani Indonesia Manggarai Barat CDP organized a training on seed breeding and pest management for Farmer Groups and Women Farmer Groups in Golo Pua Village. The three-day training was divided into 2 sessions: the first and second days consisted of theoretical presentations and field experiences, while the third day focused on hands-on field practice in making botanical pesticides. The objective of this training was to support the availability of quality seeds and enhance knowledge in pest management, thereby improving agricultural productivity and quality. Facilitators for this event included Mr. Pius Vitalis Musakar, who is the Seed Supervisor of the Plant Seed Agency UPTD PSB NTT Province West Manggarai District, and Mr. Vitalis Anselmus Syukur, who is a Pest Control Officer or Pest and Disease Observer at the Department of Agriculture and Horticulture of West Manggarai District. During their presentations, both facilitators highlighted several crucial, urgent, and intriguing aspects, as well as obtained field information that had been independently conducted by the farmers.

Mr. Pius Vitalis Musakar, in his presentation, emphasized that seed breeding is a crucial aspect of sustainable agriculture. In this training, participants were taught effective seed breeding techniques, including: (1) Selection of superior seeds: Choosing seeds with good genetic quality to produce strong and productive plants. (2) Seeding techniques: The correct method for sowing seeds to ensure proper growth and health. (3) Seedling care: Providing optimal environmental conditions for the growth and development of seedlings.

Mr. Vitalis Anselmus Syukur, in his presentation, described pest and disease management as a challenge often faced by farmers. In this training, participants learned to recognize various types of plant pests and diseases, as well as effective control strategies. Some main topics covered include: (1) Identification of pests and diseases: Understanding the symptoms indicating the presence of plant pests and diseases. (2) Biological control: Using natural predators and enemies to control plant pest populations naturally. (3) Use of organic pesticides: Selecting and using environmentally friendly pesticides that are safe for humans and animals.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Vinsensius Yosef Bana, as the Project Manager of Gugah Nurani Indonesia Manggarai Barat CDP, emphasized that the Seed Breeding and Pest Management Training is expected to have a significant positive impact on agriculture in Golo Pua Village. With the availability of quality seeds and effective pest management, it is hoped that the productivity and quality of agricultural products can increase significantly. This will directly impact the welfare of farmers and the overall economy of the village. Certainly, this is in line with Gugah Nurani Indonesia's vision of working in accordance with the pillars of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as reducing poverty, hunger, promoting inclusive education, and ensuring environmental sustainability.

Additionally, the knowledge and skills gained by participants in this training can serve as valuable assets for enhancing the sustainability of agriculture and building a brighter future for the community of Golo Pua Village. With sustainable support and strong commitment from all stakeholders involved, it is hoped that Golo Pua Village can become a successful example in the development of sustainable and innovative agriculture. This training activity is part of a series of Horticulture Farming Program with Drip Irrigation System as Regenerative and Sustainable Agriculture for Farmer Groups in Golo Pua Village, a collaboration between Gugah Nurani Indonesia and the Golo Pua Village Government.

Therefore, at the beginning and end of the event, the Head of Golo Pua Village, Mr. Yohanes K.T. Ben Suhardi, emphasized that Golo Pua Village will demonstrate strong commitment to developing regenerative and sustainable agriculture, which not only provides economic benefits but also preserves environmental balance. Hopefully, this program will serve as an example for other villages in building sustainable agriculture and enhancing the overall welfare of the community. Thus, the training on chili seed breeding and chili pest management for farmer groups is not just about increasing agricultural productivity, but also about creating a stronger foundation for sustainable and high-quality agriculture in Golo Pua Village.

This training activity was attended by 30 members of farmer groups and women farmer groups. The participants were very enthusiastic in participating in the training until its completion. Met during the activities, Mr. Maksimus Geman as the Chairman of the Farmer Group and Mrs. Irene Darti as the Chairman of the Women Farmer Group of Golo Pua Village highly appreciated this training activity. This is because the materials presented were indeed in line with the needs and problems encountered in the field. For example, the need for varied seeds in the market with quality that is not fully mastered by the farmers. Some farmers have often conducted their own breeding from good harvests, but the plant growth is sometimes not optimal in production. Therefore, with this training, farmers begin to realize and understand effective and productive breeding systems that can be applied.

Regarding pest attacks, it is a very serious challenge for farmers. In agricultural land, leafhoppers, fruit flies, fruit rot, leaf wilt, and so on are often found. Certainly, these conditions will have an impact on productivity decline. These conditions are still traditionally handled by farmers. Therefore, with this training, farmers are taught how to effectively and quickly handle pests using local resources in the village. On the third day of the training, practical activities such as making botanical pesticides, making bioslurry, practicing fertilizer application on plants, and conducting joint monitoring and evaluation of the conditions of the plants in the agricultural land were carried out.

The joint monitoring and evaluation process provides farmers with an understanding of how to identify pests and diseases as well as handling techniques in the field. At the end of the training, the Chairman of the Training Committee and the PIC of Agricultural Horticultural Development of Gugah Nurani Indonesia Manggarai Barat CDP, William Wey Pati Binshar, expressed his hope that the farmers would return to their fields not only with new knowledge but also with the spirit and confidence to face agricultural challenges more effectively. With the assistance of Gugah Nurani Indonesia, Golo Pua Village is ready to move forward in developing more productive and sustainable agriculture. 

Written by: Vinsen Y.Bana 
Edited by: FD Team

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