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Polyculture (Mixed Crop Gardens)

24/11/2021

In the highland areas on the island of Sumatra, most of the people in the villages cultivate tree crops in a very traditional way (ie farming with a sub-system pattern or with the generosity of nature). In Indonesia, whether on the islands of Sumatra, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Papua, the cultivation of perennials inherited by previous generations has almost the same pattern, namely sub-systems.

This farming pattern usually uses a method by planting plants such as durian, duku, candlenut, sugar palm (naturally, grown alone, bred by wild animals such as civets), areca nut, banana, gelugur acid, mangosteen etc. Among these plants, there are also many plants that already exist in the land because they were inherited by their ancestors.

Especially for the Sibolangit area, about 30 KM south of the city of Medan, the people also do the same agriculture. The area inhabited by the majority of the Karo Batak tribe, the average family head has 4 hectares of land, but the land is not cultivated optimally, the community only takes care of their fields or gardens when the durian season or other fruit in their garden is approaching (it’s approaching maturity). fruit season), when it is like this, they are busy clearing the shrubs in their garden so that when the durian fruit falls it can be seen and can be immediately taken for sale, because if it is not seen and taken for a long time, the fruit will rot. Meanwhile, if there is no fruit season, the garden will be abandoned, farmers will usually switch professions temporarily to become collectors traders, angkot or taxi drivers in the city of Medan or temporarily migrate to become day laborers in other areas.

Wise Traditional, Ecological & Economical
The traditional farming pattern is actually very friendly to nature, wise and supports the ecosystem, because with various types of plants in the garden, farmers will keep various kinds of animals alive because the availability of food chains for flora and fauna that live in nature is maintained. Very different from the monoculture pattern garden!

However, if it is only wise for nature and the environment, what about the humans who live around it? This question triggered the Indonesian Rural Skills Development Center (BITRA), Medan, to develop community gardens with a polyculture pattern in 1997. This polyculture concept, where the community still maintains their habits with traditional gardening, but intensifies so that the existing land can be productive and have high economic power on land yields. On the other hand, farmers are no longer daily laborers in other places or drivers because they can take care of and work on their gardens, which demands a fairly high continuity of daily activities. In the concept of polyculture, farmers are advised to plant more than 4 types of plants in one garden. Besides, other farmers in the vicinity must also plant rice to meet basic needs so as not to depend on the availability of rice from other areas.

Now farmers say that with polyculture farming they feel safer and are more active in working to take care of their gardens. What they mean is economically secure, because they are now able to harvest their crops almost every day. Namely, palm juice is tapped daily, Barangan bananas and cocoa every week there are yellowing fruits, areca nut & gelugur every month some can be removed from the tree, rice begins to turn golden every 6 months, durian, mangosteen and duku harvest every year. . Likewise, when the price of one agricultural product is cheap due to the game of traders, for polyculture farmers there is no problem, because the price of other commodities must be high.

Why Polyculture?
This Sibolangit area promises a lot of hope for the wider community for the results of its garden production, it also promises hope for the surrounding community to produce and get results for prosperity. Slope and hill areas (valleys, sloping to hilly) with an altitude of 300-600 above sea level (asl) provide a cool climate and good rainfall. Around the area, apart from the nature reserve, 2 rivers are also passed, the Peasants’ river and the Betimus river. This situation invites the community to continue to preserve nature by managing land in a polycultural manner. They also have a river conservation organization called the River Concern Community Forum (FMPS) which builds a system for protecting rivers and harvesting fish collectively with a predetermined period of time. In addition to maintaining the FMPS, it also makes rules and prohibitions on destructive fishing, such as using fish bombs, stuns and poison (tuba) but fishing, fishing and netting are still justified, if there are residents of their village or other villages who continue to violate the prohibition, sanctions will be imposed. morally and socially imposed. They termed the conservation of the river and its biota as Lubuk Larangan. They also do river clean work (from non-organic waste) once a year.

Actually the above is a higher concept than polyculture, which is called mix farming or agriculture by combining plants, livestock, fisheries and ecotourism, but we do not dare to claim that the agriculture we apply is mix farming because for livestock and fisheries it has not been done. maximally, meaning that not all farmers implement livestock and fish in their gardens, only some farmers. That’s why we still call it polyculture.

Polyculture is an agricultural system or agricultural model that is economical, ecological, cultured, adaptable and humane. This agricultural model is also known as a sustainable agricultural model. The polyculture farming model is a total correction to the monoculture farming model.
Polyculture comes from the word poly which means many and culture means culture or habit. Literally polyculture means an agricultural model with the habit of many types of plants on the same land. Polyculture does not mean a hodgepodge farming model nor is it an intercropping model, because the intercropping model is only known for seasonal crop farming. The polyculture farming model is based on the stages from year to year, the condition of the ecosystem will be better. Plants that are developed and their natural conditions will be more perfect and stable. In addition, if the hard plants have reached their maximum age and are no longer productive, the diameter of the stems is very large, it will benefit farmers to cut and sell the wood which is of course very high economic value. Polyculture will combine various cultivation technologies that are harmonized with existing plant penology and local aspects and the sustainability of existing natural resources.

How to Start Polyculture?
Communities who farm traditionally as we mentioned above must already have the original land and plants. After there is an initial deliberation between farmers in a large expanse of gardens, we have to start mapping the gardens with a participatory rural appraisal (PRA) system. After obtaining a picture of a garden with various types of plants in it, it must be decided which large plants have the most dense growth distances and must be cut down for arrangement to provide incoming sunlight, where this sunlight is needed by new plants or lower plants in the process of photosynthesis. So if the plants you want to develop are cocoa and Barangan bananas (in order to maximize land and yields) then polyculture is a very appropriate concept because tall old plants can protect and filter sunlight so they don’t hit plants that don’t need full sunlight. (50-70 %).

Livestock that are suitable to be used as a component of polyculture are chickens, goats, cows & buffaloes because apart from producing manure, they can be used as fertilizer, but especially for goats, they must be monitored so that they do not eat new plants. Bees help other plant flowers interbreed and produce honey.

While fish. Actually any fish is suitable to be kept in the river that divides the polyculture garden, but the type of fish must be adapted to the water conditions (heavy, medium or calm currents) and the availability of food in the river, as well as the temperature and purity of the water. For fish, if there is no river around the land, a pond or natural swamp can be made that already exists.

The difference between polyculture and monoculture gardens in terms of pests or diseases, it turns out that in polyculture, pests or diseases are much reduced because pests get food from other plants that grow on the land but do not have economic production value but also do not interfere with productive plants, such as grass and grass. shrubs (shrubs).

The polyculture model can also avoid erosion on riverbanks or from the flow of rainwater that flows over the soil surface.
To improve soil fertility, things that need to be developed in polyculture gardens are maintaining ecosystems, making compost, not exterminating pests with chemical pesticides, raising livestock and maintaining typical fruit produced by a certain area.

Pest or Disease Constraints & Solutions
From the journey of farming life since developing a pattern or model of polyculture, farmers in the Sibolangit highlands maximize their land and production with the development of cacao plants (this plant is new to the community) in the middle of the journey when cocoa begins to harvest crop care problems and pests begin to appear, pests and diseases cannot be overcome especially the cocoa pod borer (PBK). So, in overcoming the problem, a Polyculture Cocoa Field School (SL-Policulture) was carried out in Sayum Sabah village which is a combination of farmers from 6 villages in Sibolangit sub-district, with a polyculture garden of approximately 500 hectares.

In SL-Polyculture farmers learn technical matters such as;

1). Biological control of the Cocoa Fruit Borer (PBK).

2). Propagation of Black Ants in plants to control Helopeltis sp and Cocoa Fruit Borer (PBK).

3). The technique of making bokashi fertilizer (rice straw bokashi & cocoa pod husk).

4). Making compost using a bokhasi waste decomposer (PSB).

5). Propagation of Trichoderma Sp as an antagonist fungus (a fungus that controls root fungal diseases but does not damage plants). And various kinds of vegetable pesticides (from natural ingredients and do not contain chemical toxins), natural fertilizers & maintenance techniques, pruning etc. To get a list of raw materials, how to make them and how to apply them to plants, readers can contact the Division of Agriculture, BITRA Indonesia at the address below.

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Data Kelompok

Kab/Kota Lk Pr Jlh Jlh Kel
Langkat 173 142 315 12
Binjai 26 31 57 3
Deli Serdang 783 766 1549 31
Serdang Bedagai 815 620 1435 49
Tebing Tinggi 36 126 162 5
Batu Bara 26 170 196 5
Lab Batu Uatara 490 306 796 2
Jumlah 2349 2161 4510 107