In July, the team traveled to a village called Plaga in the northern highlands to attend the largest farmers’ expo in Bali. We brought along several farmers from our pilot project area in order to show them the incredible potential for mixed agriculture on this island. We saw an enormous variety of vegetables and natural products coming from farmers who will certainly be fantastic role models for our participants. Before strolling around and sampling these treats, we made a strong initial contact with Danone Mineral Water, who is currently doing several CSR projects in agriculture and could become an important corporate sponsor for Sawah Bali.
After the expo, we visited the homes of two brothers who are growing asparagus and a few other vegetables thanks to a transition program led by the Taiwan Cooperation and Development Fund. TCDF supplies farmers in this area with free seedlings, equipment, technical assistance and supply chains. The weather conditions and soil quality are so perfect for the asparagus that farmers can harvest it every day of the year. Until recently, farming families in this area made only $100/month growing corn, cassava and coffee, and many were selling their land for development. Now, farmers are growing high-value vegetables and making over $400/month selling them in the south and in Singapore. Land sales for development have stopped completely, and many who had left the village to work in tourism have returned to be farmers. The program started with 15 farmers and has now grown to over 150. TCDF will soon move onto another region and the farmers will continue on independently, with plans to become even more efficient.