“Growing Chili Movement”, Initiation of Urban Farming Concept as a Solution to Meet Commodity Demand in Papua

The skyrocketed chili’s price has become the sizzling topic lately. The commodity price surged steadily way over the ceiling price recommended by the government. The weather, unbalanced number of supply and demand also transportation issue was believed as the culprits behind the nationwide phenomena. Chili’s price is always an essential matter, it’s a staple ingredient behind almost every Indonesian culinary, what Papua’s famous Papeda Kuah Kuning would be without chili?

The Government tenders it’s “Chili’s Planting Movement” as one of the solutions, a movement that will provide a major boost to the annual domestic production of chili. People are expected to grow chili in their backyard to fulfilling their demand and reducing dependency to the market fluctuate situation.

The same movement has been implemented in the eastern part of Indonesia, Military District Command (KODIM) 1705/Paniai and KODIM 1709/Yawa in Papua Province were starting the movement with growing chili in polybag medium in their military base backyard. Besides aiming to green the yard, this movement was meant to set an example for the community to alleviate their daily economic needs with growing short-term vegetables in the garden by utilizing the existing land, as well as to anticipate other commodity price where in recent years tends to rise in price.

The “Chili’s Planting Movement” is merely a tiny part of the large urban farming / urban agriculture concept. This concept, indeed, is still brand new for most Indonesians. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) urban farming / urban agriculture is defined as being food production that occurs within the confines of cities. Such production takes place in backyards, on rooftops, in community vegetable and fruit gardens and on unused or public spaces. It includes commercial operations that produce food in greenhouses and on open spaces, but is more often small-scale and scattered around the city.

The concept started with the awareness to raise food security even in narrow scale, according to Food Acts No. 7 / 1996, food security defined as the fulfillment of food commodity in the household, which reflected in the availability of food commodity in terms of quantity and quality, safe, equitable, and affordable.

The types of plants that can be grew in this concept of urban farming / urban agriculture are highly varied such as grains, roots vegetables, greens vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, herbs and other ornamental plants.

That’s why the initiative from Kodim 1705 / Paniai and Kodim 1709 / Yawa in Papua Province is a positive thing that should be supported and developed. Not only in the area around the military base, but also in every yard in the community.

There are several steps that can be taken to maximize the implementation of urban farming / urban agriculture, first important step would be education / counseling to the community regarding urban farming / urban agriculture, both in terms of processing and how to enhance the quality of products. Then, the relevant agencies need to set the requirements for ‘guaranteed market’, so the urban farming / urban agriculture products could to meet the standards and specifications demanded by the market.

The KODIM and local governments can work together with NGOs and Communities to be able to urge people of Papua to apply the concept of urban farming / urban agriculture in their own backyard respectively.



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