06/18/2010, 00.00
INDONESIA

Central Java: training for farmers in new agricultural practices and environmental ethics

by Mathias Hariyadi
A Jesuit priest in cooperation with a Christian university organises programme to educate farmers in new agricultural practices and ethical principles. Backed with their new knowledge, they can improve their life and daily work.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – An Agriculture Training Centre in Salatiga (Central Java) is promoting organic farming among local farmers. Fr Johannes Wartaya Winangun SJ set up the school to help rural people learn how to be more competitive whilst respecting the environment.

Fr Winangun told AsiaNews “at least 45 farmers took part in the programme offered by the KPTT (Kursus Pertanian Taman Tani in Indonesian) and Yogyakarta-based Duta Wacana Christian University”.

Classes were held in Semawung, a rural village in Kulon Progo (Yogyakarta), with daily sessions starting at 9.30 am until 3 pm, from 9 to 12 June.

The Jesuit priest explained that Indonesia is an agricultural country, where most farmers do not own the land they till, and where those who own even a few hectares ignore modern entrepreneurial practices and ethical principles; hence, we must “introduce them to the business ethics and practices of modern society.”

The course was also meant to teach farmers about organic farming, how to use organic fertilisers that are readily available and respectful of the environment.

Results were good, and students asked, “To produce organic fertilisers from waste materials like leaves, banana trunks, and more,” Fr Winangun said, adding that with greater awareness of their situation, farmers can better partake in modern society.

At the end of the course, a number of farmers said that they were “now more conscious of potential opportunities to improve our economic situation,” including knowledge of “ways to reduce costs by eliminating chemical fertilisers in favour of organic material.”

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