INSAM - The International Society for Agricultural Meteorology
in the most recent issue of the magazine “Farming Matters” in 2016 we (Yunita Winarto and myself) were advertised as follows: “An anthropologist, an agrometeorologist and Universitas Indonesia students and other scientific and administrative support staff have teamed up with rice farmers in Indramayu (Java) and on Lombok, to face changing local climatic patterns. The aim is to generate reliable climate services on which farmers can base their crop management decisions. This is done through co-production of knowledge that is rooted in scientific and local expertise and takes place in mutually supportive undertakings. They consist of conducting field experiments, rainfall measurements and agroecological observations (soil, plants, water, biomass, pests) on a daily basis. With these data that farmers collect, farming strategies are jointly developed and discussed monthly in Science Field Shops. Including monthly climate predictions, farmers and scientists learn about agrometeorological consequences of climate change locally. Training of Trainers allows upscaling of the Science Field Shops.”
Here is the background. Knowledge and wisdom are co-created and transferred in dialogues
FARMERS, AGROMETEOROLOGICAL LEARNING, RESPONSE FARMING, KNOWLEDGE CO-PRODUCTION AND EXTENSION IN INDONESIA
Kees Stigter, May 2016
Since 2008 I am involved in Indonesia, as Agroclimatologist, with an Environmental Anthropologist, presently at the Universitas Indonesia (UI), Depok, near Jakarta. With farmers and students we first developed in dialogues in Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, agrometeorological learning as a collection of meteorological and climatological knowledge that helps farmers to better cope with climate change. The results of our early years were reported in Yunita T. Winarto and Kees Stigter (Eds.), 2011, “Agrometeorological Learning: Coping Better with Climate Change” that can be downloaded from ResearchGate. This became an example in which scientists, in line with the university’s mission, help solving problems in people’s livelihood: Science for the people.
From Depok we got involved with a group of lowland rice farmers in Indramayu, coastal NW Java. We then further developed from 2010 onwards with them a new participatory extension practice called “Science Field Shops” (SFSs). These are monthly field meetings between farmers, scientists and (where available) extension. In these SFSs, anthropology is teaming up with agrometeorology in getting applied science closer to assisting Indonesian farmers with adaptation policies towards more climate resilience. The most important differences with any other learning attempts, such as in Climate Field Schools, are frequency and duration of and the dialogic approach in SFSs. Special efforts have been made to bring these new participatory extension methods into the hardly existing local extension efforts.
Chaidirsya (www.sesric.org/imgs/news/image/837-pre-4d.pdf) stated in 2013 that the national extension system in Indonesia was on the crossroads. He then argued that the Law no. 16, 2006, on systems of agricultural, fishery, and forestry extension had revitalized agricultural extension in Indonesia, by giving opportunity for the private sector and NGOs (not mentioning Universities and Research Institutes! KS) to become involved in agricultural extension. He then concluded that decentralized, farmer-led and market-driven extension policies are the key to make extension more responsive and more effective toward farmer empowerment, but he did not indicate how this has to be reached. We believe that our approaches fit these policies.
Agrometeorological learning is about exchanges of traditional, more recent empirical and scientific knowledge between farmers, extension intermediaries and scientists. Agrometeorological learning is therefore about changes of beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and goals due to new agrometeorological and agroclimatological knowledge acquired by the farmers. In this fashion it is a form of policy learning for farmers that will assist them a lot in their decision making. This considerably increases farmer resiliences to climate change. For scientists this new knowledge is the traditional and more recent empirical knowledge of farmers. Also the scientists learn. Jointly with their old and new knowledge they (farmers/scientists/extension) co-produce new knowledge in farmers’ fields. Together with farmers we co-produced and gradually established seven basic climate services for agriculture/agrometeorological learning in their fields; we use these now also in weeks of Training of Trainers after a morning on “climate literacy”. Details are in our past, present and forthcoming publications that are deposited on ResearchGate.
The first climate service that we established, with farmers in their fields, is guidance of daily rainfall measurements of all Indramayu Rainfall Observers Club farmers (IROC, formed by the farmers) in their plots. This is, with all members in the SFSs, on the exchange not only of methodology and procedures but also of what was made visible in these measurements that started at the end of 2010. The second climate service for agriculture established with farmers in their fields is the guidance of daily agro-ecological observations (soil, plants, water, biomass, pests, climate extremes) that are subsequently written up and discussed in the SFSs. These are collected on large data sheets.
The third such a climate service is focusing on predicted and measured yields during SFS periods and explanations of their differences (between farmers, fields, seasons and years) from measurements, observations, inputs (amounts and timing) available, affordable and used (varieties, water, fertilizers, pesticides, labour, machinery and knowledge). The Harvest evaluation is the last of the Agro-ecosystem Analysis Data on the data sheets. The fourth climate service for agriculture, established with farmers, is the organization of the SFSs themselves that anyway were a consequence of the uncertainties that climate change increased. We want to discuss the functionality of SFSs from the experience of the farmers that participate; for them to be able to organize their own SFSs in the future. This can best be started via questions for discussions with and among farmers.
The fifth climate service for agriculture is the development and exchange of monthly updated seasonal climate predictions in the form of seasonal rainfall scenarios. This is heavily discussed in the SFSs. Here the scientific input of the agrometeorologist is largest because these are also new scientific developments harnessed for farmers’ use. The sixth class of agrometeorological services established is the delivering of new knowledge related to the above, including the provision and discussion of answers to all agricultural/climatological questions raised by participants throughout the year. The seventh and last class of climate services for agriculture is guidance on the establishment of farmer field experiments to get on-farm answers on urgent local questions, heavily discussed in the SFSs. This started with the decision that it was worthwhile to reduce methane emissions by improved water and biomass management.
We have expanded with new “Rainfall Observers Clubs” to the island of Lombok but also with “satellite villages” in Indramayu and Lombok. We have shown from the beginning that our SFS approach is a continuation of response farming. Our cluster at the Department of Anthropology at UI has therefore been called “Response Farming for Climate Change”. We will now be engaged for two further years in the Training of Trainers in Roving Seminar SFSs. These trainers in the upscaling are partly extension agents but very prominently also farmer facilitators, selected by the farmers from among themselves that we have groomed.