The Bina Swadaya Konsultan (BSK) initiative invites the Torop Jaya Women Farmer Group (KWT) to continue cultivating rhizome roots and garden or horticultural crops to produce positive results. During the mentoring, the group of women was able to harvest for the first time and earn additional income directly from the business they planted themselves.
The assistance carried out by BSK is a form of trust from PT Agincourt Resources (PT.AR) in the Sustainable Local Institution-Based Economic Development program in Batang Toru District, South Tapanuli Regency, South Sumatra.
The Torop Jaya Farmer Women’s Group (KWT) itself was established in 2019 at the initiation of PT. Agincourt Resources (PTAR). However, in the period of 2019 – 2021, the group has not succeeded in cultivating the roots of rhizomes and their processed products which are still not perfect.
The presence of BSK in December 2021 began to answer the group’s problems, one of which was the soil factor that was not suitable for cultivating rhizome roots because it was too dry and lack of nutrients.
Until early 2022, BSK began to invite groups to cultivate land in rhizome root land by providing fertilizer and carried out in cooperation including the husbands of KWT members. In addition, 250 ginger seedlings and 450 turmeric seedlings were also planted.
Rhizome root cultivation, which requires a harvest time of about 7 to 8 months, is used by the BSK team to strengthen institutions so that the group can be sustainable and independent.
Assistance is carried out by providing insight into institutions and organizations until it is agreed by Mrs. Rotua as the head of the group. The initial activity was carried out by inviting and motivating other members to consistently monitor the development of rhizome root growth in the demplot land.
Meanwhile, in terms of capital, KWT Torop Jaya also agreed on mandatory member dues deposited every month of Rp 10,000 and also principal dues of Rp 10,000. After the initial capital was raised, BSK again invited the group to make processed products from rhizome roots.
During the mentoring carried out by the BSK team, KWT succeeded in making 4 processed products such as turmeric ice cream, turmeric-based face masks, ginger drinks, and turmeric bar soap. From the processed products, it is expected to be a provision for the group as an alternative business in increasing the economic value of rhizome roots.
Among the 4 products, processed products in the form of ginger drinks are the products that are most in demand by the surrounding community and PT.AR employees. Until now, the group has been able to produce 10 bottles per week which are included in 250ml bottles.
However, positive developments from the cultivation of rhizome roots and processed products have not been able to meet the economic needs of members who mostly work as agricultural laborers. Therefore, they asked BSK to provide input regarding additional income by utilizing land owned by group members.
Answering these complaints, the BSK team invited members to cultivate horticultural crops that were fast harvesting and ready to be sold in the market. The business began in one of the group members’ yards as a pilot plant with bitter melon, purple eggplant, kale, and spinach seeds.
Horticultural cultivation efforts with kale and spinach seeds also yielded positive results, the first cycle harvest could be obtained as many as 120 bunches of kale for Rp 2,000 / bunch and 50 bunches of spinach for Rp 3,000 / bunch. The sales and marketing are carried out around Sumuran Village and restaurants in Aek Pinning Village to meet the needs of raw materials for the menu.
The positive results of horticultural cultivation that can provide additional income are immediately welcomed by other members. Other group members began to be motivated to start cultivating horticulture in their yards. In fact, in June 2022 the group entered the harvest for the third time. (val/nn-bsk)