Zakat: Changing Lives in Indonesia
The Zakat for Prosperity project has supported communities in West Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat, through the introduction of simple adaptive farming mechanisms.
Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) is a region of eastern Indonesia. It has some of the highest levels of poverty and food insecurity in the country. Sixty-one per cent of rural sub-districts suffer chronic food insecurity, and the majority are in Lombok.
Most people live in rural communities and more than 90% of the rural population derive their livelihoods from agriculture. This means most people are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
How Climate Change Affects Communities
Rainfall patterns are becoming increasingly unpredictable. This affects the way farmers approach their work and affects planting decisions. Climate Change has lead to declining agriculture production, loss of income and widening staple gaps at the household level.
In the absence of supporting services such as alternative livelihoods, resource poor households often have no choice other than to accept low wages for occasional unskilled labour or to become migrant workers. 60% of households in the community have at least one relative working as a migrant overseas.
Migrant workers are often over worked and under paid and their protracted separation causes additional stress and insecurity for their families.
Working as a Housekeeper to Specialising in Hydroponic Farming Techniques
Murni, a mother of five whose husband is disabled through a work place accident, has been the main income earner for her family for the past seven years. In order to support her family, Murni spent many years working as a housekeeper in the Middle East.
Female headed households like Murni’s experience particularly high levels of marginalisation due to limited skills and access to productive assets such as land and capital.
Now, however – thanks to an innovative hydroponic agriculture project implemented by Islamic Relief – Murni, alongside 300 other farmers and 200 students, have received technical training in hydroponic farming techniques and have additional income to support their families and remain within their local community.
How We Do It
Our team in Indonesia has built Hydroponic Training and Production Facilities at five Sites in West Lombok. Alongside this, farmers received the hydroponic tools, inputs and technical supervision and training needed to ensure they grow, cultivate and harvest high value vegetables using hydroponic techniques.
In Hydroponic Cultivation, farmers grow crops in low-cost greenhouses using hydroponic instead of soil.
This also allows farmers to grow crops in controlled temperatures and with limited land.
Virtually any plant can be grown, regardless of the season and the technique uses 20% of the water required in traditional methods, meaning that farmers can still grow vegetables during the dry season.
“other group members and I are encouraged to run a hydroponic farming business. In the beginning, we were all confused about the farming system, because usually we just cultivate plants in the farm land, how come the plant can grow nicely in water? But after attending hydroponic training from the expert, we understand the system, and now we can grow several kinds of vegetables by ourselves”.
Murni and the other farmers received further training in business and marketing skills to enable them to maximise their income.
“We not only learnt how to grow vegetables through the hydroponic system, but also how to make good packaging and market it strategically”.
They have been able to produce High Value Hydroponic vegetable products such as green lettuce, red lettuce, kale, water cress, mustard, red/ green spinach and have sold them in the local markets, including restaurants and hotels servicing tourists. The cooperatives have also signed a contract with the largest supermarket in Lombok to supply vegetables every two weeks and have received requests from others.
“Alhamdulillah, we can gain additional income from the vegetables sold to the market. Demand of the products has increased significantly due to the high orders from supermarket, hotels and restaurants”.
The income obtained as result has been utilised to further cover the Hydroponic production support and support daily needs of households like Murni’s, who can now generate a meaningful income and reducing their vulnerability to climate change.