December 06, 2016
Riau Ecosystem Restoration (RER) and their partner BIDARA (Bina Sumberdaya Masyarakat) have provided 50 goats to 40 resident families of Sangar sub-village in Pulau Muda Village, Teluk Meranti Sub-district, Pelalawan District, Riau province on Thursday, 3 November 2016.
The goats were provided as an incentive to the community to produce organic fertilizer for agricultural land development without the use of fire. The ability to produce their own natural, organic fertilizers is more efficient than paying and transporting chemical fertilizers from to the remote area of Sangar Village located on the peat lands of the Kampar Peninsula.
Hasanuddin, Leader of the Village Youth Group appreciated the assistance from RER and BIDARA to the villagers. “I am grateful for the help of these goats, people believe this will help them to improve their farming practices and income”, he said after handing-over the goats.
RER Estate Manager, Muhammad Iqbal noted that the cooperation with BIDARA is critical to the success of this program because BIDARA’s Community Officer, Pak Syaerozi, has worked closely with the families of Sangar Village for over a year, has gained their trust and understanding to identify the true needs of the farmers. For this program, each family is given a female goat, and a group of four families cooperates to build a stockade for a single male goat to breed. Once off-spring arrives, these will be passed on to additional families in the village.
“I hope that the goats can be developed and can bring prosperity for the citizens, so as to improve the economy for the people Sangar sub-village and negative activities that disturb the forest can be reduced”, stated Pak Iqbal.
The goats are a continuation of a RER/BIDARA program to promote “no-burn” farming in the peatlands occupied by Sangar village and adjacent to the RER natural forest. In early 2016, RER/BIDARA encouraged Sangar farmers to use hand tools for cultivation and plant red chili’s with chicken manure provided by RER/BIDARA. The program was successful and farmers have independently expanded their “no-burn” chili farming practices.
Previously, Sangar farmers would “slash-n-burn” the peat prior to planting and growing corn. The practice of burning was dangerous because of the hazard of fire spreading into the adjacent natural forest and producing smoke and haze which negatively affects the health of the residents of Sangar, especially young children, elderly people, and in downwind communities. The residents believed the only way to produce a productive agricultural crop were from the nutrient-rich ash that results from burning. With the provision of hand tools, awareness training and goats, RER and BIDARA have now provided an alternative to burning which can achieve equal or better results.
Regarding the development of the goat program, BIDARA’s Community Officer, Pak Syaerozi said, “the program will continue to be monitored by RER and BIDARA through periodic meetings with Sangar villagers”.