Stories of Change

Buttutasik, seated, joins a workshop about making organic fertilizer.

Climate change is real: helping Indonesian farmers understand and adapt to climate change

“The weather is unpredictable now,” says Buttutasik, a farmer in his 50s in Bau village in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

“This leaves us feeling confused: some of us continue planting our seeds, knowing we are risking crop failure from weather change and pestilence; others of us are reluctant to plant at all for fear of losing our crops,” he noted. Buttutasik is the chair of the Harapan Lembang Bau farmers’ group in his community. “What we need the most is information about the changing weather patterns, and [modern] weather forecasts to guide our decisions on whether to plant or not. We never had such information – until we joined DREAM,” he says.

Buttutasik is right to highlight unpredictable weather changes in Indonesia. In fact, erratic weather has put farmers nationwide in a difficult position. Our team keeps hearing from farmers that they are no longer able to understand and predict weather patterns using local wisdom. That led CWS and a local partner, Pusbinlat Motivator – a DREAM team of sorts – to launch an initiative to help farmers access information and technology to help them understand the effects of climate change and changing weather patterns.

Importantly, DREAM is helping them adapt. In explaining how the project is working for him and his group, Buttutasik says, “I joined the land conservation training workshop, where we learned how to observe weather patterns properly; how to use information from agricultural extension workers effectively, and how to use modern gauges to measure rainfall. All this information can help us plan for the next planting season, including what crops to grow.”

“We also learned how to make and use organic fertilizer and an organic pest control mix to help maximize crop quality and replace chemical pesticides,” he added.

As the group chairman, Buttutasik is responsible for 24 members; as such, he says he grateful to join DREAM education and training activities adding, “Even though I am already 54 years old, I am not too old to learn new things and help improve [my own and my group members’ lives]. We hope that we can improve our living standards with our new knowledge; that we can become part of a community that maintains and preserves our land and water; and that we can raise awareness in our own community, Bau, about the benefits of organic fertilizers and pesticides.”

This initiative is made possible in part by generous support from Act for Peace.