Dieng Plateau in Dieng village, Wonosobo regency, and Dieng Kulon village in Banjarnegara, both in Central Java, often experience frost. It happens every year in the dry season which causes potato harvest failure that cost tens of millions in each spot of farmlands. Such condition triggered five students of Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) to do research on the frost and mitigation direction.
“The problems, however, farmers find it hard to predict the frost. Only a few of them have done mitigation efforts.The frost actually happens only in certain areas and is affected by topography condition,” said Geography student, Aditya Pradana, on Wednesday (14/6).
Along with his fellow students, Aida Mardiana, Futuha Helen Sara, Sani Afifah, and Fathimah Nur Lestari, and supervisor Dr. Emilya Nurjani, M.Si, they did the research in the Student Creativity Programme UGM 2017.
Aditya said frost was a unique occurence in tropical Indonesia that is marked by the emergence of frozen vapour in the morning, which damages potato farming. These students did a mapping of the frost areas by geomorphological approach, followed by monitoring of weather condition by installing thermo-humidity logger.
“This research shows that frost only happens in alluvial planes when the temperature drops to below zero degree. Plateau is more vulnerable to experience frost because at night the soil surface cools down faster while there is no wind motion than that in the slopes,” said Aditya.
He added frost was harmful to farmer’s main crops, which is potato. The students later recommended some mitigation treatments, such as conversion of commodities from potato to non-potato during the frost period, modification of frost occurence with blower, arc furnace, and water spraying in the night, covering the crops with netting, as well as climate insurance adoption.
“We socialise this mitigation to the farmers and the local authorities to prevent them from experiencing losses,” said Aditya.
The result of the research is later used to determine the climate insurance index. Aida Mardiana said insurance scheme was adopted to avoid losses if frosts affect potato farms. The insurance is applied to the farmers group and the farmers that join the insurance ought to pay the premium and will receive damage benefit in case of a frost.
“Hopefully, in the future the climate insurance index can be applied in community service forms that can support climate resilient agriculture in Dieng Plateau. This concept can be implementd for other hydrometeorological disaster types in wider Indonesia’s agricultural areas,” said Aida.