Gunungkidul - More than five thousand residents of Beji, Ngawen Subdistrict, Gunung Kidul, have not been able to optimize the benefit of their crops, such as rice, soybeans, and corn. Local people still do farming or run business traditionally. As a result, their agricultural products and business are not optimally explored.
This is the reason for Faculty of Biology UGM to give guidance for Beji and Kemadang villages through Education for Sustainable Development (EfSD) program of I-MHERE (Indonesia Managing Higher Education for Relevancy & Efficiency). According to Slamet Widiyanto, S.Si., M.Sc., PiC of I-MHERE Sub-Activity 3.1, to develop the two villages they also involve LPPM and MM UGM. "We have done this with LPPM through its KKN program since year 1999. With Faculty of Biology we started this in year 2006," Slamet said on Thursday (30/6).
They give socialization of natural resources utilization and entrepreneurship training in Beji, which is a real form of assistance to the local community. The activity was followed by about 60 participants from 14 farmer's groups. Slamet explained that the assistance and training still consider the three important pillars, namely economy, social aspect, and culture. "In principle, we provide training that is really needed by community, such as agriculture, home industries, and animal husbandry," Slamet said.
Meanwhile, Beji village head, Sularti, said that the assistance given by Faculty of Biology can improve insight for people to develop their business. She exemplified the production result of soybean which was previously processed into tofu or tempeh is now developed into soy milk. Also, they now make corn chips in addition to producing and selling mlinjo chips. Meanwhile, cassava which was formerly made into dried cassava only has now been made into snacks (lanting or slondok). "Well, the challenge is to improve public awareness in aspects such as the use of technology," Sularti said. She also hoped that UGM does not only create the program, but also provides continual guidance to residents. Similar to Sularti, Slamet and Sukiyo of Lestari Mandiri Farmer Group admitted the benefits from the assistance by Faculty of Biology. Sukiyo exemplified the traditional planting of corn and peanut crops by residents regardless of appropriate planting method. "There were a lot of energy and seeds being used, but the results were still not good," Sukiyo said.
Wardi Sukisno, Head of Duren Hamlet, mentioned the benefits gained by the residents from the assistance and training conducted by Faculty of Biology. Residents became more aware of good planting as well as correct and safe fertilizing. "The residents now understand planting spacing method and fertilization. Therefore, we hope that the quality of agricultural products will increase," Wardi said.
At the socialization and entrepreneurship training, residents gained knowledge about the processing of pure strain of soybean, colored rice and its function for health, development of coconut products, as well as the utilization of biological fertilizers for reducing greenhouse gases that cause global warming.