“The weather is unpredictable now,” says Buttutasik, a fiftysomething farmer in Bau village in South Sulawesi, who is chairman of the Harapan Lembang Bau farmer’s group. “This leaves us feeling confused: some of us continue planting our seeds, knowing we are risking crop failure from weather change and pestilence; others of us are reluctant to plant at all for fear of losing our crops.” Continuing, Buttutasik says, “What we need the most is information about the changing weather patterns, and [modern] weather forecasts to guide our decisions on whether to plant or not. We never had such information – until we joined DREAM”.
Buttutasik is 100% right to highlight unpredictable weather changes in Indonesia. In fact, erratic weather has put farmers nationwide, including Tana Toraja, in a difficult position. According to them, they are no longer able to understand and predict weather patterns using local wisdom. So, support from Act for Peace, CWS and a local partner Pusbinlat Motivator – a DREAM team of sorts – now helps farmers access information and technology to help them understand the effects of climate change and changing weather patterns. Importantly, DREAM is helping them adapt. Buttutasik continues explaining how the project is working for him and his group: “I joined the land conservation training workshop, where we learned how to observe weather patterns properly; how to use information from agricultural extension workers effectively, and how to use modern gauges to measure rainfall. All this information can help us plan for the next planting season, including what crops to grow.” Separately, Buttutasik says, “We also learned how to make and use organic fertilizer and an organic pest control mix to help maximize crop quality and replace chemical pesticides”.
As the Chairman of the Harapan Lembang Bau farmer’s group Buttutasik is responsible for 24 members; as such, he says he grateful to join DREAM education and training activities adding, “Even though I am already 54 years old, I am not too old to learn new things and help improve [my own and my group members’ lives]. We hope that we can improve our living standards with our new knowledge; that we can become part of a community that maintains and preserves our land and water; and that we can raise awareness in our own community, Bau, about the benefits of organic fertilizers and pesticides”.
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