A hydroponic system has been trialing since October 2017 at Kasawari village as an initiative to reduce the threats to protected forests as well as benefiting local people.
What is hydroponics? The word originally comes from the Greek “hydro” -meaning water and “ponos” – power. Another term used to describe hydroponics is soilless culture, or cultivation without soil. So, hydroponic means cultivating plants using water and without soil.
Kasawari village in city region of Bitung directly borders onto KPHK Tangkoko – Duasudara Nature Reserve. Such an important village in the buffer zone of the last stronghold for Macaca nigra. This village has no access to fresh water. Local people use rain water and have to buy fresh water from the city for Rp.60.000 per 1.200lt. An explosion by nearby volcano Mount Batuangus has caused the ground in Kasawari to be sandy and dry, and its coastal location means there are very high temperatures. The hea and dryness of the area means that it is very difficult to plant . People are relying on a “pedagang sayur keliling” (trading vegetables by motorbike) to get fresh vegetables where the nearest market is located around 6-8km away in Winenet. This need is one of many considerations why Selamatkan Yaki chose to trial the hypdroponic system in Kasawari.
Through collaboration in EPASS Project “Enhancing the Protected Area System in Sulawesi” coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme, financed by the Global Environmental Facility and administered through the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Selamatkan Yaki started a Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA) in Kasawari in October 2017. This began with a comprehensive study to choose the top two areas for implementation around KPHK Tangkoko, as indicated by the needs and availability of proposed approaches. A meeting with related stakeholders was conducted, forming the basis for robust plan of action to implement the SLA project, including surveys, feasibility studies, socialization and capacity building
A greenhouse was installed in early May 2018 followed by the training of key community representatives. People were trained in a range of hydroponic techniques, and the first harvest in July 2018 collected more than five different types of vegetables. This trial project marks a promising beginning for forest protection and equivalent benefits to local communities. The hydroponics model can hopefully be developed and adopted well into this society and other areas facing similar challenges.