Karang Agung II (Tengah) 30,000 Ha

Visits to the area on August 2002 and August 2004

Karang Agung II is the most successful Swamp Scheme. It was one of the two Transmigration Swamp Schemes which were financed by the World Bank.

Three times maize

Most farmers came here only 10-11 years ago. This is an area farmers plant three times maize in a year. Controlled leaching/drainage was the main objective of the design during the feasibility study of Karang Agung II. The present yields and cropping intensities are many times larger than ever was calculated during the feasibilty study.

Intensive On-Farm Water Management system

The average yield is between 3 - 4.5 ton/ha for maize. An intensive ditch system is required. The farmers made this themselves. There was also help by the SPL project (year 2000-2001) from OECF (Japan). Farmers grow three times maize since 1996.

Rice-Maize area

This is a location where farmers plant one time rice and one time maize. This depends on the local drainage conditions in the wet season. There is no possibility for tidal irrigation, this condition is intentially created by the type of design, with apparantly great success. Control Structures were present from the very beginning of the project.

Rice - Maize area

The tractor intensity is only 1 tractor per 100 ha. Which is still too low. But seen the remoteness of this area and the fact that the farmers came here only 10 years ago, remarkably.

Rice-Citrus

Some farmers grow also with success (sofar) a Citrus variety from East Java (Malang) with a delicious taste.

Dead-Ended Canal

Only for the last 10 years we know how bad are the effects of dead-ended canals in Tidal Areas. This canal has been known major maintenance only 2 years ago. see the result after two years. total stagnation.

No working of the Secondary Canal connected to the Primary canal

The sediment accumulation in the dead-ended part at the end of the Primary canal causes complete coverage of the outlet of the Secondary canal, blocking all waterflow in the Tertiary and secondary Canal. See the result on the next photo.

The abandoned area

This is the result of thr dead-ended canal problem. The area was abandoned after the extreme dry season in 1997 in the following years. No leaching is possible anymore.

Acidity in Tertiary canal

A clear indication of stagnation in the canal, now or in the past. iron oxidation

Dead-End cut by farmers

This has been done by the farmers themselves. They have connected the two dead-ended Primary canal parts. Very good initiative but not sufficient to conquer the problem

A structure in the area with three crops per year

Water flows are controlled by a flapgate in the Secondary canal connecting with the Primary canal

A culvert outlet of the Secondary canal into the Primary canal

Compare this with the blocked culvert at the dead-ended canal

The flapgate

The flapgate is operated by the farmers themselves! It stands now open because it is very dry and sweet water is required to enter the Tertiary canals

Bridge over the Primary canal

The original bridge is still is in good condition.

Underflow

All these structures have a hazard of side and underflow along the structure or there is a problem that the structure is leaking heavely.

It is clear that there are still problems in the project.

About 20-30% of the area is not used now. Most of the abandoned areas are only abandoned after 1997, the extreme dry year.  The main reason: dead-ended canals with acidity problems. Other abandoned areas are subject to Saline water intrusion for major parts of the year and deep peat in the North of the project close to the Lalan river. Farmers left the area or are working now as labourers on near-by oilpalm plantations. Some of the saline areas have been turned into fish-shrimp ponds, the peat areas have here a potential for sustainable tree crop plantations. Most easily is the problem solved for the dead-ended primary canals. Could all these problems have been prevented 15 years ago? I do not think so. Lack of information, lack of money, lack of knowledge at that time. The saline water intrusion problem could have been solved by control structures in the primary canal near the Sembilan river. Always proposed, but never implemented by the major costs  involved. The peat soils seem now been planted with tree crops. As a whole this Scheme is considered very successful. The land price for one hectare in the Scheme is Rp.10,000,000, that is very high for a transmigration area, certainly taking into account its remote location. (4 hours by speed-boat from Palembang).