As the seedling distribution is coming to an end in Talaken, we joined Suadi and Mahuy Bean to deliver 500 seedlings to the field of Hassim and his family. Just a 15 minutes drive with the small Mitsubishi truck filled with bags of seedlings from the nursery and we arrived at their small field: Directly besides the road, encircled by a dense secondary forest out of old rubber- and pinus trees, dominated by a thick undergrowth. The family chose not to cut down the trees to enlarge the land available for planting crops. Leaving it as it is, they avoid the long and difficult labor of cultivating the land and simultaneously offer the local wildlife a chance to flourish.
So rather than expanding their farmland, the family chose to plant Sengon on their current field, which is already planted with crops like sugarcane, cassava, banana and different varieties of ginger. Thus making it their own little intercropping project. After the arrival, Hassim, his wife and his two sons, supported by Suadi and Mahuy Bean, got all the bags of seedlings off the truck. They carried them through the bushes on the side of the road, up a steep hill and onto their field in an impressively short amount of time, working efficiently together as a family. Hassim signed the delivery documents that ensure that all 500 seedlings have reached his field, so he and his family were free to plant the Sengon in neat rows that they already had prepared. Before leaving I told them how impressed I am with their work – “Kerja bagus!” They laughed and waved at us as we climbed down the path to the street.
In the next two weeks the last batches of seedlings will be delivered to the remaining farmers after nursery owner Paton had taken care of the plants over the last few months. Hopefully they will have as much joy and support by their families as Hassim had!
A report of the planting season by Jule Niepmann