Program expected to secure food in Bali

The provincial administration is attempting to secure the island’s food supply by introducing the Puspasari program, which pushes households to produce their own needs in their backyard, an official has said. The administration’s assistant II for economy, I Ketut Wija, said that since last year the administration had pushed for the development of household-level food centers and introduced the Puspasari program to the people. Through Puspasari, or Pusat Pangan Sehat dan Lestari (Healthy and Everlasting Food Center), the administration expects that every household can produce its own primary food, especially vegetables, meat and fruit.

Wija said that the program started with the integrated village development movement (Gerbang Sadhu). In the first phase, the administration identified 80 villages and disbursed Rp 1 billion (US$82,770) to each of them in assistance. Of that amount, at least Rp 20 million had to go to the Puspasari program. “We expect to see households grow, at least, chili plants, tomatoes and other vegetables. They can also keep livestock or fish,” he said. “It may seem trivial, but if we do it right, it can help them secure food,” he said.

The province also obliges all its agencies to implement the program. Wija said that more than 50 high-ranking officials had been given seeds to plant in their own yards. Besides setting an example to subordinates, this method was also expected to make their neighbors aware of the program, Wija said. “The seeds are for kitchen needs, like chili, tomato, and eggplant,” he said. “This will become a stimulus and they will follow up by procuring their own seeds.” Wija said the program was suitable for everyone, as it did not require a large amount of space.

People could even use a vase. Moreover, the rise of the urban farming movement in several cities in the country could help people get information on how to utilize whatever space they had. “It is fine even if people say that this is copying from other cities, or it is late,” he said. According to Wija, food demand in Bali is high, coming not only from residents but also tourists throughout the year. Meanwhile, farmland is decreasing due to functional change, hence cutting supplies.

The administration had to import primary goods, like rice and vegetables, from other provinces, including East Java, West Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi, which ultimately caused prices to soar. “Vegetables sold at high prices burden the people, especially the low to middle income people. If we can all grow them, we don’t need to worry about it anymore,” Wija said. In addition to the Puspasari program, Wija said Bali was looking to establish seed centers, aiming to result in a greater variety of plants being produced to cut reliance on factory-produced seeds.

Denpasar Agriculture, Food Crops and Horticulture Agency head Gede Ambara stated his support for the program. He said that his side had also tried to utilize small spaces in the city for urban farming. For better implementation, citizens are divided into farming groups with specific designations, such as for orchids and mushrooms. “By this cluster system, the movement will work better and each participant can support others as well. We aren’t looking at the success or not, but the lesson from the program,” he said.

source : bali daily

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