It was still dark when I and other Asian women and youth participants, including representatives from 7 different countries: Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, India and India left the city of Makassar to visit Kaloling Village in Bantaeng District. Spending 5 hours traveling, in the bus that was moving I could see beautiful rural scenery with wide expanses of rice fields, some of which had started to turn yellow. From a distance I saw that there were endless beaches and attractive hills. Another thing, I also saw people’s houses that were still made of wood with the style of a house on stilts. It is located next to timber plants, fruits, industrial plants, medicinal plants, and others. It’s amazing to know that they live in harmony with nature.
Along the way I was also immersed in poetic scenery until finally my entourage and I arrived in Bantaeng. By accepting many young people who are also farmers, like me, I realized that I was almost like coming home. It’s a very pleasant feeling, moreover they are very enthusiastic and friendly, where we are presented with traditional dances. They also spoiled me with local food from agricultural products, such as ginger-based drinks and cassava-based cakes.
The most interesting thing, when I found out, SPA Butta Toa has succeeded in establishing the learning house that we used at that time. Where around the learning house there are so many different types of plants that create a cool and fresh space. This is a big achievement, because the main problem in my place, the participation of young people, especially in the agricultural sector, is difficult. But from the discussions we had together, SPA Butta Toa also experienced the same problem.
Initially, in 2016, this group of young people started with 1 or 2 young people in the village with the same views on agricultural issues that arose in the village. Gradually attracting more and more young people to join. Now, SPA Butta Toa has succeeded in reaching 11 villages with around 90 members, the majority of whom are young people. Agroecology training members at home and farming together to realize food sovereignty.
Currently, they have learned a lot to process and market their agricultural products together. I think this is important, because food security also means independence in the economic sector and eliminating dependence on the market made by corporations.
After a short lunch break, the group moved to the Butta Toa SPA pension. The 1 hectare land is planted with approximately 100 different types of plants. Currently, the farm has produced 40 different species of plants. Each member of SPA Butta Toa is responsible for maintaining this collective land so that it can continue to be the center of organizational learning. The benefactor who handed this land over to the organization shared local methods on how to propagate by grafting between seedlings grown from seeds embedded together with branches with live bark peeled off and soil in the mother tree to the roots. After that, everyone can bring seeds that have taken root to plant in their own land.
At the learning center, all plants are treated organically, without chemicals. There is vanilla, one of the most valuable spice products on the world market, which is well ground with readily available ingredients. All plants grown in the garden are propagated by the grafting method and there is no need to purchase young plants. Because SPA Butta Toa has its own nursery.
It’s late afternoon, it’s time to end a beautiful day with friends from Bantaeng. We give the host necklace as our tradition: “we are family now”. Then we also took pictures with the residents. Thank you very much SPA Butta Toa and friends from Bantaeng, I have learned a lot of knowledge and will apply the most relevant lessons to my village and our team. This extraordinary experience brought me to a new vulnerability, a deeper awareness of the impact of ecological agricultural production on global climate change. [/Red]
*Tulisan ini ditulis oleh K’Phap, komune Loc Tan, Lam Dong, Vietnam, dalam bahasa inggris; tulisan disunting dan diterjemahkan oleh Realita Febiarti/Bina Desa disini: https://binadesa.org/woman-and-youth-leadership-forum-partisipasi-bermakna-perempuan-dan-anak-muda-bicara-kedaulatan-pangan/