When asked if he has anything to say to farmers, Mr. Elianor Sembiring of Bio-agro-input Association quickly replied, “Change”.
“Farmers have to change their mindset,” he said. “Farmers usually want fast results. They want to get rid of pests quickly and are having been trapped into using chemical products for plant protection for a long period of time.”
These days a lot of people in Indonesia are ill because of the use of chemical products in agriculture. They consume toxic food from the toxic land from a long period of time.
“These days a lot of people in Indonesia are ill because of the use of chemical products in agriculture. They consume toxic food from the toxic land from a long period of time.
“This District of Karo is my hometown. It has been contaminated for generations. If farmers don’t start using organic methods, what will be happening? ”I’m getting old and may be retiring in the next few years. I want to see my children and grandchildren having a healthy long life.”
Bio-agro-input Association of Indonesia or ABI was established in 2008 with support from a Commercialization of Biopesticides in Southeast Asia project in promoting biocontrol products for crop protection. To date there are 51 registered bio-agro input products from 18 companies under ABI.
“ABI is nothing compared to big chemical companies. We are small companies. We don’t have budgets for advertisements. The farmers believe the chemical product is good, it gives fast results, but they don’t know that the product kills them.”
ABI consists of small-and-medium size bio fertilizer and bio pesticide producers. It provides assistance to members on registration and legal consultation as well as promoting of the use of bio-agro input products to farmers.
“With one straw, you can’t do anything with it, but with a bundle of straws, you can use it to sweep garbage. When we have more people, we have more collaboration, and more power, and we can do more negotiation,” Mr. Sembiring said.
With collaboration of GIZ’s ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (sucessor of Commercialization of Biopesticides in Southeast Asia project), ABI introduces bio-agro inputproducts through demonstration trial plots at Taman Semalem Resort in District of Karo, Indonesia to show farmers that organic fertilizer and bio pesticide can be used as an effective alternative for crop production.
“We did many trials and farmers could compare and determine by themselves if the products were suitable for them,” he said.
However, Mr. Sembiring said ABI needs more supports from GIZ in promoting the use of bio-agro input products and in connecting and expanding the markets to larger users both domestically and internationally.
[su_note note_color=”#f6e190″ radius=”7″]“ I’m getting old and may be retiring in the next few years. I want to see my children and grandchildren having a healthy long life.[/su_note]
“It’s not easy to introduce biocontrol products to the users because of the farmers’fixed mindsets. Farmers have already been comfortable with chemical products for a long time. They see that they get quick results in getting rid of crop pests and make fast money in a short period of time using the chemical inputs in agriculture.
“But farmers have to change their mindset,” Mr. Sembiring repeated, “They have to start now.”
By Rojana Manowalailao, ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems