In addition to rice or coffee, many Indonesian farmers grow vegetables such as hot peppers, tomato, cucumber or cabbage. Unfortunately, the quality and yield of these vegetables is often too low. This is why Wageningen University & Research plant scientists started a programme called VegImpact in which they have trained over 10,000 Indonesian farmers in efficient vegetable farming. The farmers were introduced to improved vegetable varieties, and taught about adequate fertilisation and how to protect crops against pests and diseases in a responsible way.
Train the trainer
The Dutch company East West Seed – market leader in vegetable seeds in Southeast Asia – already employed the product promotors before the programme started. “In an intensive training course and via demonstrations and practical assignments we showed them how vegetable farmers can improve their cultivation practices,” Van Koesveld continues. “We focus on nursery management and the selection of strong seedlings, the responsible use of crop protection products and fertilisers, aiming at and cost price reduction and productivity improvement. The training is supported by a website, videos, brochures and four e-learning modules.”
The initiators of VegImpact would like to follow up on the nearly concluded programme with a second stage, in which at least 100,000 farmers should be trained. Flip van Koesveld: “We would first train the trainers, e.g., experienced vegetable farmers and owners of so-called agroshops; shops that sell seeds, crop protection products and artificial fertiliser. These local trainers can then support producer groups and organise field visits and excursions at their respective production fields to exchange knowledge on the main cultivation aspects and improved varieties.”
Wageningen Universtiy & Research plant scientists started VegImpact four years ago in partnership with Dutch breeding companies and Indonesian partners such as the Vegetable Research Institute (Ivegri) and Fresh Dynamics Asia.