YOGYAKARTA- Anticipating the threat of world food scarcity in the future due to the increase of population, the impacts of global climate change, and the decline of fertile agricultural areas, the development of organic agriculture becomes one of the solutions to maintain the soil fertility and increase the food production as well as preserve the ecosystems of biodiversity. Therefore, the utilization of chemical fertilizer and pesticide is expected to decline and be abandoned. Those were stated in the opening of International Conference on the Development of Organic Agriculture in the Tropics which was held at University Club UGM on Monday (21/8).
The President of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Organic International, Andre Leu, said the development of organic agriculture concept combined three objects which are local tradition, innovation, and science. According to Andre Leu, modern organic agriculture is different from previous agriculture concept. The organic agriculture does not use chemical fertilizer and pesticide.
In several countries, the concept of organic agriculture adopts the tradition that exists in the local community, such as using insects and flowers as the food chain balance. “The established ecology can maintain the biodiversity, because it can maintain the life of insects, maintain the food chain, as well as become the pest predator. On the other hand, the flowers can attract the insects which are beneficial for the plantation,” said Andi Leu.
The other practice which has been developed is the rice cultivation, namely System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which has been implemented in 40 countries, including African and Asian countries. SRI is able to produce 7-ton rice per hectare without using chemical fertilizer and pesticide. “Many farmers obtain the benefits with the improvement of their field fertility. Moreover, Ethiopia has implemented SRI concept to plant corn and wheat,” he added.
The Head of Research and Development on Agricultural Field Resources, Prof. Dedi Nursyamsi, said the cultivation in SRI is one of the development concepts for organic agriculture in Indonesia. Currently, the SRI cultivation area reaches 429,061 hectares or 5.9% of total rice paddy fields areas in Indonesia. “The areas which contain volcanic soil are suitable for SRI due to the high mineral content,” said Dedi.
UGM Vice-Rector of Research, Education, and Students, Prof. Dr. Ir. Djagal Wiseso Marseno, M.Agr., gave a positive response to the International Conference on Organic Agriculture which is held until August 24. He hopes this conference can raise various ideas and new concepts for the development of organic agriculture in tropical countries. “The result of this conference will be submitted to the government in order to encourage the policy on the development of organic agriculture,” said Djagal Wiseso.