The Sedyo Makmur farmer group have started to do organic farming in the Semagar hamlet, Wonogiri regency, Central Java. The organic farming even won competitions as the best group in Wonogiri in April.
"We did not expect that we would win the competition, we just tried our best to make the village proud,” said coordinator of the farmer group, Tarmo, on Wednesday (18/7).
Tarmo said many benefits were reaped from organic farming such as the price which could reach double the non-organic yields. Organic farming also returns the nutrients and bacteria to the soil fertility.
Tarmo admitted, however, that organic farming also has weaknesses. He complained about the rampant rat pest attacking their farms. To deal with the pest, the farmers are not allowed to use rat poisons, either, because this will pollute the organic nature of the harvest.
“Having organic farming, farmers are not permitted to use chemical fertilisers or pesticides. So, we use cattle manure that is processed in a certain way to fertilise the plants,” said Tarmo.
The UGM students joining student community service (KKN-PPM UGM) in the villages have suggested them to breed owls (Tyto alba) as rat pest control. This was inspired by the same method used by farmers in Pati, Demak, and Bantul to resolve the problem.
"We hope to succeed in this project in owl breeding, so it can help the farmers with their organic farming,” said Hanif, one of the students.