Permaculture training inspires youth to restart farming and develop her village in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara

A training to introduce permaculture technique strengthened the dream of one youth in West Nusa Tenggara to improve the welfare of her village by utilising local resources.

Hikmayani, 22 year old, was preparing her Bachelor’s thesis proposal when she received a notification about a permaculture training held by Terasmitra in August 2021. As a student at the Food Science and Technology Department in the Mataram University in West Nusa Tenggara, she was immediately intrigued to participate in the training, which was related to the topic that she planned to present in her final paper, namely moringa-based food products.

“My real motivation was to gain new knowledge to help developing [my] village,” said Hikmayani, who is known as Hikma to her friends. Hikma lives in Karang Sidemen village, North Batukliang district, Central Lombok regency, West Nusa Tenggara. This village is located on the border of the Nuraksa forest park, the only conservation forest in West Nusa Tenggara. Besides cultivating coffee and rice, some villagers also turn to sand mining to gain income.

“My village has rich and promising soil for farming but they were not properly utilised because people do not have enough knowledge in land cultivation”

Hikma said

Additionally, Hikma explained that a lot of villagers had sold their plot of land and chosen to work as labourers, move to the cities, or work as migrant workers overseas. She said that she wanted to encourage the villagers to go back and work on their land.

During the training held by Terasmitra at the Syariah Lingkar Rinjadi Co-operative office, Gatep Ampenan, Mataram on 10-12 August 2021, Hikma learned about cultivation of moringa tree with permaculture technique. The practice is an environmentally friendly agricultural technique by considering the surrounding ecosystem. In addition to learning about the technique, the participants also learned about how to process the moringa leaves into flour.

The permaculture training is part of the Employment and Livelihood project, a joint United Nations (UN) initiative. It is funded by the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN MPTF) and aimed to provide an equal opportunity to improve welfare for every member of the community, including vulnerable groups, such as youth, women and people with disabilities.

“We hope with the support given during the training and mentoring, vulnerable communities that have been affected by the pandemic can recover. We also hope that this training will encourage the people in Lombok to have better understanding about how to manage their own land,” said Navitri Putri Guillaume, ILO's National Project Officer in Jakarta.

After the training, Hikma held a similar event involving the youth to share her new knowledge in Karang Sidemen village. They have started to plant moringa as an experiment and rejuvenate the crops that have been previously planted. Hikma hoped that maximum utilisation of land in her village would help increasing the income and welfare of people in her village.

Hikma hoped that in the future, the villagers of Karang Sidemen would stop selling their land and would be more interested in cultivating their land. She also dreamed that the younger generation will return and develop their village and create jobs for progressing their region even more by using the available natural resources.

“After this training, I am more aware of the surrounding environment. When I finish my study, I will come back to my village and manage the land at home. I will also invite friends to develop Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs),” she said optimistically.