JABARTODAY.COM-CIAMIS. Farmers in Ciamis Regency, West Java, are currently grappling with two significant challenges. Firstly, the El Nino phenomenon has led to an extended dry season, causing the depletion of water sources for agricultural purposes, particularly rice fields. Secondly, there is a scarcity of fertilizers among the farming community. The Ciamis Regency Department of Agriculture and Food Security has reported 108 hectares of rice fields experiencing crop failures, and other lands across 18 districts facing drought conditions. Consequently, many agricultural plots have become arid and unproductive during this prolonged dry spell.
To address the initial issue of the water crisis, Farahdibha Tenrilemba, the Secretary-General of the Indonesian Women Farmers Association (Wanita Tani Indonesia), suggests that Ciamis farmers should explore alternative water sources, like wells, if feasible. When this is not possible, farmers are encouraged to investigate alternative crop varieties suitable for cultivation during the extended dry season.
As an illustration, in Sindangsari village, farmers have already experimented with shifting to the cultivation of different crops, such as legumes. Regarding the second challenge, namely the fertilizer shortage, Farahdibha acknowledges the difficulties farmers are encountering in accessing fertilizer. To address this issue, they have provided equivalent fertilizer assistance to cover 10 hectares of rice fields for farmers in Panawangan and Cipaku. This is with the expectation that it can be put to use during the upcoming planting season when the rainy season arrives.
Farahdibha also highlights that one of the obstacles in obtaining fertilizer is the restricted distribution of farmer cards, where fertilizer purchases are regulated and require a farmer card. This is somewhat akin to the fuel subsidy system, but often the stocks of fertilizer run out. As a solution, Farahdibha requests that the government make alternative fertilizers available at the same price as subsidized fertilizer, ensuring an adequate supply of stock.
The aspiration is that fertilizer assistance from organizations like theirs can alleviate the challenges confronting Ciamis farmers due to the scarcity of fertilizers. (ruz)