Minapadi: Successful Innovation of Traditional Farming Practices

Gubernur DI Yogyakarta Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, FAO Representative Indonesia, Mark Smulders and Dirjen Budidaya Perikanan KKP, Slamet Soebjakto, Sesmenko Maritim, Asep D.Muhammad setelah panen ikan di proyek percontohan minapadi Dusun Kandangan, Kabupaten Sleman, Yogyakarta. FAO-Indonesia

TEMPO.CO, Sleman – “Minapadi”, Indonesia’s term for “rice-fish farming” has been practiced for generations in Indonesia, and many other parts of East and South-East Asia. Unfortunately, with the introduction of ‘modern’ intensive farming techniques, especially those that include the use of pesticides, the fish and other aquatic animals that traditionally kept the rice fields in a healthy condition, died, and the practice was slowly forgotten.

Since late 2015, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in close collaboration with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries started to revive the traditional wisdom of Minapadi through the introduction of an innovative method called: “Innovative Rice-Fish Farming based on a Cluster Approach”. The innovative technique was introduced in Sleman District, Yogyakarta and Limapuluh Kota District, West Sumatra, covering about 25 ha in each location.

Within a short time, the innovative approach demonstrated that traditional wisdom combined with modern planting material and techniques has brought triple-win benefits to the farmers, farmer groups, and their families. Rice production increased, incomes went up, and levels of nutrition have started to improve. The average rice yield increased from 6.5 tonnes/ha to 9.3  tonnes/ha with higher quality rice as farmers can sell the rice as “healthy rice”.  Also, the sale of fish reached as much as Rp 42 million per ha per season.  Importantly, the innovative rice-fish farming system uses a sustainable “ecosystem approach” through zero pesticides and significantly reduced levels of chemical fertilizers.

Today, January 20, representatives from several related ministries, including Safri Burhanuddin, Deputy Minister for Human Resources, Knowledge and Technology and Maritime Culture of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs  and  Musdhalifah Machmud, Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture of the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, together with representatives from the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries and the Ministry of Agriculture visited the rice-fish farming demonstration plots in Dusun Cibluk, Margoluwih Sleman to observe progress made and meet with the farmers.

Over the period 2013-14 the Statistics Office in Sleman recorded average fish consumption in Yogyakarta Province at just above 19 kg/capita/year, the lowest compared to the other 33 Provinces, and nearly half the national average of 37 kg/capita. In 2015, per-capita fish consumption in Sleman increased to just above 22 kg, a good increase of 16%.  It is expected that rice-fish farming will further contribute positively to increasing the supply of fish, and food and nutrition security of the population.

“It is really gratifying to see how the re-introduction of traditional minapadi with innovative techniques has taken off so well in Sleman District,” said Mark Smulders, FAO Representative in Indonesia. “The enthusiasm of the farmers speaks for itself: we have managed not only to increase incomes through the sale of fish but have actually maintained, even increased, rice productivity, while also providing the local population with an important source of protein for better nutrition.

The natural beauty of the rice-fish farming demonstration plots has even invoked agro-tourism in the area.  The new industry has further stimulated economic activities, often led by women groups and the youth, in producing various innovative and healthy fish products derived from their home industries.

Indonesian Farmers Share their Knowledge Worldwide

The innovative rice-fish farming techniques introduced by FAO with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, and local authorities, have been widely shared in the Asia- Pacific region and beyond. Representatives from 15 countries have visited Sleman District, in addition to many farmers from throughout Indonesia, all of whom expressed their interest in replicating the rice-fish farming approach in their own countries, and other parts of Indonesia.

FAO has contributed about half of million US dollars to develop and demonstrate the good practice, with around 500 farming families benefitting directly from the program.

“It is now time for this Minapadi farming system to be scaled-up to ensure a much larger number of farming families can have a better life, while also benefitting rural communities more broadly through stepped-up economic activity and improved access to nutritious food. I believe it is a good investment not only for Indonesia, but for many other countries in Asia, and the farmers of Sleman have shown the way,” Smulders said.

    https://en.tempo.co.  20 January, 2017. Indonesia