Blog / 26 February 2024

Exploring sustainable farming practices with partners in Indonesia

From land regeneration to improving soil health – trees play a crucial role in almost all our ecosystems. Agroforestry makes use of these benefits by combining agriculture and forestry. Agroforestry, and the reforestation and conservation efforts that are part of it, improves biodiversity and climate resilience, as well as the livelihoods of the farming communities involved.

As such, agroforestry can be seen as an important counterbalance against current prevailing, unsustainable agricultural practices based on mono-crops and is a great example of the transformative practices that Both ENDS aims to upscale.

During the week of January 22nd Yulan and Leonie visited partners from Samdhana, whose work is funded through the Fair, Green and Global Alliance, of which Both ENDS is the lead organisation.

Together with two representatives of the Dutch Embassy in Indonesia and our Samdhana colleagues, we visited partners working on agroforestry.

From monoculture to agroforestry

Following a prolonged land conflict with the state-owned forestry enterprise and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Forest Peasant Group (Kelompok Tani Hutan – KTH) from Garut West-Java has recently been granted a 35-year stewardship license by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to cultivate the land in an agroforestry system. The Forest Peasant Group is now working to transform the existing intensive monoculture horticulture in the area to an organic agroforestry system, based on the tradional practices of the Sundanese ethnic group known as Talun.    

Empowering the next generation

Since most of the peasants are currently well over the age of 45, the next generation of peasants will need to take over their parents’ role. However, most young people are leaving the rural areas to find employment in the city. To counter this development and to convince the younger generation to return to or stay in the village, FGG partner Tanah Air Semesta Foundation and the Forest Peasant Group teamed up with the Classic Beans Cooperative. With support from FGG member Samdhana and the state-owned forestry enterprise they established a reforestation field school.

Enter the reforestation field school

At the reforestation field school students are taught basic farming knowledge related to land management, nurseries, pest control, harvest and post-harvest techniques. The students are educated at the reforestation field school, practice and implement their acquired skills on the land of the Forest Peasant Group, and sell their coffee harvest to Classic Beans Cooperative (among others), who produces and sells coffee made from the sustainably produced coffee beans. Aside from these farming skills, the field school also teaches the youth about cultural traditions and customs and conveys local wisdom. In this way, the project increases the livelihoods of the peasant communities for the current and next generation, helps preserve cultural traditions, whilst contributing to reforestation and conservation efforts in an area that has been heavily affected by deforestation.

Inspiring and interesting journey

Leonie: "During our visit to Indonesia we visited the reforestation field school and met with a group of young ambitious students and their teachers and we visited the nursery where seedlings are being grown into young trees. We traveled up the mountain to visit the coffee plantation and meet with the peasants who are working with the students and to see the reforestation efforts taking place. We ended our visit at Classic Beans Cooperative where we received a tour of the facility and spoke to one of the founders of the field school. 

It was both interesting and inspiring to visit this project and to meet the communities - especially the reforestation students - who are so motivated to improve the livelihoods of their families and communities while restoring and conserving the forest."

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