Living Rainwater for sustainable mount farming development after powerful Mount Sinabung eruptions in Indonesia

Written by YETERNITY Member at GNFI
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The archipelago of Indonesia is vulnerable to particular climate change effects and challenges which include volcanic eruptions, water availability, and changes in rainfall patterns with short periods of heavy rainfall during the rainy season and severe droughts during the dry season being a common occurrence. Recently, a powerful Sinabung volcano eruption has damaged forest, agricultural production, water sources, forests, and livestock in North Sumatra, Indonesia.  More than 2,000 hectares of agricultural crops have been damaged by the eruptions. Damages and losses to farming activities caused by the Sinabung eruptions have considerably affected the livelihoods of the local people. As farming traditionally has been the main livelihood and source of household income for villagers living around Mt. Sinabung, proper mechanisms and strategies for farming rehabilitation and reconstruction are therefore urgent.

Immediate actions will have a greater impact on the revitalization and survival of affected farming households. The heaviest impact of ash from Sinabung volcanic eruption are buried crops. This could result in total loss for farmers. If the falling ash is smaller in quantity, the impacts on agricultural crops can be in the form of acid damage, smothering of plants and damaged fruit and vegetable skins. Acid damage can decrease resistance and inhibit plant germination. Smothering plants could inhibit the process of photosynthesis. Thick ash fall may discolor fruits, making them difficult to sell.

In searching for crops that can adapt to ash sediment, it is important to consider the types of crops and the availability of fresh water sources, including rain.  Crop vulnerability to eruption material is highly dependent on the type of crop. Root and surface-level vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage, have been observed to be the most resilient. The availability of fresh water is again essential to immediately washing crops as rinsing is the best way to remove ash. Rains are also useful for handling the ash problem. Arrangement and selection of resilient farming crops, provision of water supply and rehabilitation of soil fertility in the rehabilitated areas will likely be among the key factors for the success of farming rehabilitation and reconstruction activities.  In an effort to address this and at the same time demonstrate adaptation to climate change in Sinabung area, the YES2DO project, will assist Sinabung community with a timely-targeted rainwater harvesting project for sustainable farming development after mount Sinabung eruptions.

This project “Living Rainwater for sustainable mount farming development after powerful Mount Sinabung eruptions in Indonesia” has been accepted and added to the Best Climate Practices Contest 2015 on “Water Availability for Food Production”.   Yunita Kopjanski has initiated this project for assisting mountain peoples in restoring their livelihood and farms after the volcano eruptions.  She envisions sustainable mount development in North Sumatera, Indonesia and nationally.  Let’s vote Indonesia’s project.   The online voting procedure will be open from September 01, 2015 (5.00 pm CET) to September 15, 2015 (5.00 pm CET).   To vote, go to the Best Climate Practices website, sign up or log in and rate the practice.  Working together we can make an impact for mountain peoples and environments.  Thank you for your support.

Written by YETERNITY Member at GNFI

For many years I worked in creative industry and most of my work was inspired from the beauty of Indonesia's nature and heritage (YETERNITY.COM). In recent years, I have focused on sustainable development in Indonesia and global community. My passion for serving people and serving for lasting change led me to initiate YES2DO project in Indonesia. I traveled to Indonesia to assist vulnerable people and the rural area. Working together we can make a change. Follow YES2DO on Twitter: @ YES2SUSTAINABLE.

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