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One of the major constraints for agricultural development in Tidal Swamps is the limited availability of labor. Farmers own mostly 2 Ha or more; too much for rice cultivation based on manual labor.
This limitation has a major impact on the potentials of the rice and how the rice is cultivated in Tidal Swamps.
This page will focus on the influence of Mechanization on the potentials in the Swamps. Its information is mainly based on a Publication by AARD, Jakarta/ Bogor (Badan Penelitian dan Pengembangan Pertanian, Departemen Pertanian, 2000), with the title;
PENGEMBANGAN ALAT DAN MESIN PERTANIAN. Menunjang Sistem Usahatani dan Perbaikan Pascapanen di Lahan Pasang Surut di Sumatera Selatan
The big question is how will farmers change to mechanized farming in Tidal Lowlands. At the moment the ministry of Agriculture is promoting a system called UPJA (Unit Pelayanan Jasa Alsintan) . This is a private village organization that organizes the equipment and machines for mechanization with the Ministry of Agriculture and takes care for the operation and maintenance of the needed mechanical inputs. Farmers can hire machines for land preparation, harvest and post-harvest management. They can find credit to start the input payments. These organizations could be connected to the other farmers organizations such as the Water Users Associations and the Agicultural Farmers Groups (Kelompok Tani).
This system looks very promising presently and proved to be much better than providing the farmers directly with mechanical equipment. In that case they take little interest in maintenance of the machines as already has been proven frequently.
When there is no possibility for mechanized land preparation by hand-tractor, the farmers will do the land preparation manually. That means land preparation will mainly concentrate on burning and/or slashing the weeds or using herbicides. This land preparation will be carried out with no or only little soil tillage. Planting of seedlings will be done by making a hole with a stick and planting the seedling in the hole.
Allthough this is a sensible way to cultivate the land in the swamps when there is a lack of labor, it has severe negative effects on potentials.
When improved rice varieties can be introduced after the introduction of plowing by hand tractors, many farmers will also prefer a broad-cast system of the seeds to reduce the long time needed for transplanting. AARD recommends also the use of a manually operated row seeder to be more effective for weeding, pest control and harvesting etc., but most farmers still use the broad-cast system in Telang.
For more information about problems with second crop: See the PowerPoint presentation for farming system technology (Should be viewed using Internet Explorer and not Mozilla Firefox)
1) It will become possible for the farmers to change from local varieties to high yielding varieties. Also the cultivation of two rice crops per year might become a possibility
2) The inputs for two crops of rice per year will cause major changes in the physical environment of the Tidal Swamps
To encourage the farmers to cultivate two crops per year, the following conditions are required:
Physical ripening of the soil
Reduced and more efficient labor use during the post-harvest period
An important limitation for the farmers to grow a second crop is the long time it requires to harvest the first crop, do the threshing of the padi, and to dry the husked rice during the wet season.
For the second crop it is also important that there is additional water supply and the land is flooded during land preparation to puddle the soil. In most cases extra water by pump irrigation will be required for the second crop. (The wet season rice crop in most cases does not have that problem, as there is enough water from rainfall and tidal irrigation)
At the moment BULOG have installed for the first time a Rice Mill with post-harvest facilities in Telang I, South Sumatra province. The Ministry of Agriculture build a second Rice Mill now. See Post Harvest investments promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture: DG of Land &Water Management. (Also only good visible using Internet Explorer and not Mozilla Firefox)
A pilot area will be monitored for three years. See for some pictures also : Tidal Lowlands project for Guidelines Development.
(Bulog= Indonesia Logistic Bureau and controlling the rice market in Indonesia)
Land Preparation starts with using herbicides in August to kill the weeds on the land. Wait one month and plow the land in September and wait at least 1 month again until October/November before using the rotator and harrow and start broadcasting the seeds of rice including part of the needed fertilizers.
For the second crop the main limitation is the lack of time to repeat this procedure for two/three months land preparation. This means that the plowed remnants of first crop cause fermentation in the soil that increases temperatures in rootzone of the soil and there will be competion between young rice seedlings and the fermentation process for the applied fertilizers and the young rice seedlings of the second crop will suffer. Yields rarely become higher than 1.5 ton/ha in that case.
This problem could be solved by using quick working herbicides. But also EM4 applications might help solve the fermentation problem such that planting would be possible within 1.5 month after harvesting the first crop. Another possibility that works will be cutting the rice remnants of the first crop until the roots, collect these remnants and ferment them using EM4 at the corner of the field.
For more detailed information collected by the Community Organizers from the successful farmers (with participation of my grandson Xander).
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