Project in Sumba Island — East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
- Agricultural training, using resources available in Sumba
- Training organic farming groups
- Construction and maintenance of water supply and irrigation system
- Tree planting
Sumba is an island in Indonesia, located about 1,500 km east of Jakarta, the capital, on Java. The island is also known for its “Cendana,” a rich sandalwood forest of parasitic trees inhabit in Indonesia and Malaysia, having unique insect repelling fragrant characteristic, frequently used for many wooden furniture materials. However this “Sandalwood Island” is disappearing in recent years as a result of El Nino, excessive logging, livestock grazing, and slash-and-burn farming. It is said that approximately 4,000 square kilometers of forest disappeared in the past 70 years. Water resource, soil nutrition, logs, edible plants, medical herbs and plants also used as materials of traditional textiles are nearly gone, affecting huge village income. This serious impact for Sumbanese needed a way to make their living more better.
LIFE had started a Sumba tree-planting project since 1998. We had chosen to plant timbers or fruits that grow quickly enough to make farmers for their instant income. With very limited amount of village income, we have also brought in know-hows of organic farming using farmyard manure.
LIFE also started farm training and providing water irrigation maintenance technology at east Sumba since 2014.
Before, vegetable farming was extremely difficult due to the limited rainy season. Without water supply system, 3 months of limited rainy season could only make potatoes, corn, and peanut for their own. Surprisingly, within those 3 months, farmers were also forced to harvest food resource so that they would not starve themselves until the next rainy season, equals to 8 months later.
LIFE studied village environment and judged farmers need instant income thru their farming, making channels to the market on a regular basis so that they can make their living better.
Implementing water supply system was however, very challenging. The river flows near the ocean level but houses are built at the flat space, mostly at top of hills. Bringing water from the bottom to the flat space wasn’t an easy project. However, everyone put a lot of effort and did not give up because they firmly believed that increasing farming region and cutting down physical labor will result in using more time concentrating of farming, not using their valuable time on bringing water resource spending huge hours from the ocean level to top of hills.
Today, Water supply management is still ongoing, mainly maintained by local people.