INDONESIA, FEBRUARY 2001

Date: 
01/03/2001
Country: 
INDONESIA

19 February 2001
I am waiting in Jakarta for a flight to Surabaya to meet Ifar to work on a LINK project, this time in Lombok Island east of Bali; we will also go to Sumbawa. In fact it is only a month since I was in Indonesia but it was only for four days and really just for a meeting, but as I had reported in that meeting I had the great pleasure of being appointed Honorary Professor of Gadjah Mada University. I hope Lombok will be a new experience although I have been there before but not for professional reasons.

25 February 2001
Lombok was a fantastic trip, very exciting. We arrived in Mataram and went to see Bu Erna and Bu Dewanti, these are Master of Science students from Malang who are doing their projects in Lombok with the farmers there. Lombok is a very strange place as far as agriculture is concerned. Before you reach the human village you come to the cattle village. All the cattle are kept in one village, but each farmer is in charge of all his cattle. Of course I wanted to find out why they did that. It seems that the reason is to prevent stealing, they had some problems with people stealing cattle from small farms who keep perhaps two or three cattle so the villages all over Lombok decided I suppose one after the other to keep their cattle in a place which was guarded by a small fence but also by two farmers who were in charge of looking after them during the night. During the day they may be taken out to go somewhere else, but the cattle are kept in the cow villages at night. We stayed in a hotel called Granada. We went to see the farmers at night because they were so busy during the day that they didn’t have time to speak to us. At that time, very interestingly, Ingrid and Svend from Denmark were on holiday in Bali so I invited them to join me in Lombok, Bali is just a half-hour flight from Lombok. They really enjoyed it and what was more important at night when we had meetings with the farmers I remember I asked them about what they did with the straw because at that time in February they are doing the first harvest of rice and when you come in on a small plane you see smoke everywhere because they are burning the rice straw. I told them that they really need to use this rice straw, I don’t like to see rice straw being burned. The reply from the farmers was that they simply have not got time to attend to it because we need to get the land cultivated and the next crop in otherwise we will not get a successful next crop so the best thing for us to do is to get rid of the straw and burn it. I then asked a very silly question I suppose, why could you not, as a community, since you know how to work together between you buy a paddle tractor to speed up cultivation so that it will enable you to spend a bit more time on the straw. The answer I received was that it was all very well but we would all want the tractor on the same day so this will not work. It so happened that Svend? from Denmark was listening to this conversation and he asked me the next day how much a paddle tractor would cost which I discovered was about $1500. He then came up with the suggestion that if they could come up with a good community proposal he would buy them a paddle tractor. Now this is quite something, so we gave them this and we now wait for a proposal. I am sure it will come.

Mataram University organised by Suhubdi? and Dadaluddin invited me to give a lecture and then after that Ifar and I had to go to Sumbawa to see small farmers there. I was really a bit of a waste of time, we did not manage to see enough, except I got a slight impression as to what Sumbawa was like. It is much drier than Lombok with a thin population and they keep a few very large Bos Indicus cattle.

28 February 2001
I am now in Yogya and we have already got a proposal from the Lombok farmers. Yes, indeed, what they want to do is to charge the farmers for using the paddle tractor, quite a good price, but 60% of it would go into a fund which could be used for buying female calves, the female calf would then be given to someone who would look after it and take it through its first pregnancy and he would then get the first calf. The cow itself at that time would still belong to the community. Also number three calf would belong to him. It was a fantastic proposal and it was immediately accepted. I have to give some lectures in Yogya and be inaugurated as the new Professor.

03 March 2001
I am in Jakarta airport again, I left Yogya this afternoon. Everyone was there to say goodbye to me. Another interesting thing that has happened here is that I have managed to get money ?from my Rotary Club to buy 52 goats for Kwarasan so we are now starting a community project. They are well organised farmers here and they like the idea of sharing the offspring of the first two pregnancies with the community, then the community can decide how they will deal with them. It was a very exciting day out there, the farmers are so happy. I lectured to students in the morning on microbial protein production, I think it was alright.

The village setting up of one of my first community projects on a revolving fund basis has probably been the most exciting bit of this trip. On Lombok Island also in effect a community project but a totally different way of doing it.