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Farming for families


Yatimin, Farmer, 63 years old, West Kalimantan

“I have been farming my whole life. This land has fed my community and my family for decades. My five children and 11 grandchildren get nourishment from the food that comes from this land and I have a big responsibility to care for it and the crops it produces. It is not an easy task because we are in the middle of a forest—there are pests and diseases that can kill my crops and destroy the home gardens that my community depends on.

Previously, I used chemical fertiliser because that’s the only material I knew. I didn’t believe in organic farming because even with chemical fertiliser I would find snakes in my gardens. But I changed my mind when I saw the benefits of using organic fertiliser.

PT SMART came to my village and ran workshops on how organic fertiliser would increase soil fertility, improve yields, and grow healthier crops. I was sure it would be expensive but I learnt how to make my own fertiliser at the workshops. All you need to do is mix organic fertiliser powder with composed leaves, timber, manure, and lime instead of acid. I was surprised to find out that it is much cheaper than the chemical fertiliser I have been using. And there haven’t been any snakes.

Yatimin at work.

Now I grow turmeric, ginger, mustard, beans, peppers, kale, and aubergines in my gardens, which I sell to different villages and districts in Kalimantan. I also plant vegetation to feed my cattle.

Learning how to grow organically was life changing—the workshops changed how I farm and feed my family and my community. With the extra income, I’m able to support my children and my grandchildren.

So I’m paying it forward. I’m teaching other farmers how to fertilise and grow healthier crops. I’m still learning from the workshops and this time on how to make organic pesticide and use it properly.”

Yatimin participated in GAR’s ‘Sekolah Lapangan’ programme, which teaches traditional farmers integrated farming techniques. Read about the pilot project here.

Click here to discover more stories behind the extraordinary, everyday lives of the people transforming palm oil.

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