Technology Based on Local Wisdom Supports Agricultural Sustainability in Tropical Regions

The Agrotechnology Study Program of the Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta is holding its fifth International Tropical Farming Summer School (ITFSS) in 2020 with the theme ‘Approaching Technology Based on Local Wisdom in Supporting Agriculture Sustainability in Tropical Area’. Unlike its previous iterations, this time ITFSS must be held through a virtual network because the world is currently undergoing the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

However, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants, ITFSS 2020 was attended by 50 students from various countries including Indonesia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Japan, Myanmar, Ghana, and India. “The purpose of holding this Summer School is to invite students from all over the world, so that they can study together and gain experience on how to farm in Indonesia’s tropical climate,” said Dr. Ir. Indira Prabasari, M.P. Dean of the UMY Agrotechnology Study Program who also opened the ITFSS online event, on Thursday (27/8). This activity was held until Friday (28/8).

Rector of UMY Dr. Ir. Gunawan Budiyanto, M.P. who was the speaker at the ITFSS online event on the second day, Friday (28/8), said that there are problems in the agricultural sector of the Special Region of Yogyakarta tregarding farmers who live in sandy soil areas. This event provides participants with knowledge about how to solve agricultural problems when in a sandy soil area.

“Generally, agricultural land on the south coast of Yogyakarta is dominated by sandy soil fragments. In dry climates, soil organic matter decomposes rapidly. This causes the land to lack organic matter and humus to form soil clumps. Judging from its physical properties, the soil has a low capacity to hold water, nitrogen content, and fertilization becomes inefficient because nutrients from the root area are lost due to water gravity,” he explained.

Various sources of organic matter have been used to increase the water-holding capacity of sandy soils. Types of organic matter, manure, compost, and other materials come from plant residues to be applied and mixed perfectly with the soil. This is a great technology for farmers.

“Watering is done every day to maintain soil moisture during the incubation period of one week. Fertilization is done by applying liquid fertilizers especially nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium twice a day. Local technology provides farmers with a simple way to reduce the removal of nutrients from the root zone,” added Gunawan.

Prof. Satoru Sato from Yamagata University revealed unique applications that occur in most areas to increase the productivity of the agricultural sector. “In Japan, we have observed that many of our residents use ducks in rice fields. These ducks can eat weeds, grass, and insects that stick to plants such as rice and so on. It is proven that the presence of ducks has increased soil fertility. ”

Satoru Sato also informed that he had conducted trials concerning the introduction of snails to rice fields, which resulted in the rice leaves becoming greener because the snails could positively affect algae and organic matter. “This may also be applied in Indonesia,” he concluded. (Hbb)

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