Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rattan Gardens as an Agroforestry System for Development in East Kalimantan

By Judit Mayer, Institute ‘Current World Affairs’, USA

Global views of agroforestry in East Kalimantan are expected for contribution of its studies and development. Proper development showed by its trend / pattern which are distinguished intoupstream areas and downstream areas.

Downstream areas are more capable to apply adventageous factors of development by with both technical and aspects of business modification. Information in more detail about each sub areas is limited for its studies and debelopment policy.

Agroforestry in East Kalimantan is related with shifting cultivation system. Each local relationship may differ. Agroforestry development will be supported by rice field formation, market demand of comodities and provision of facilities and infrastructure. Constrains are mainly market orientation capability of local people which are not adequate yet at the moment.

Cultivation of rattan sega (Calamus caesius) is integrated with shifting cultivation of paddy in much Southern Kalimantan. In the village of Tiwei (Subdistric of Long Ikis, Distric Pasir), with 28 households, the sale of rattan has long provided families with their major source of cash income. While the village area has up to 300 hectares of rattan garden land from current and old plantings, most rattan-cultivating households use only 2 – 5 hectares at any time.

From this land, rattan harvests can reach 1 ton per year. Harvests very greatly, are depending on rattan prices and other work demands. Besides rattan, coffee is also grown, and together with rattan provides for family needs with rising expectations. Recently, many rattan growers are rejuvenating old, exhausted rattan gardens by clearing competing small vegetation (tebasan) to promote the growth of rattan shoots. This system conserves many ecological values of the old secondary forest where the rattan gardens are located, and provides additional income with harvest.

Part of Tiwei’s village land has been designated for possible expansion of an oil palmplantation and transmigration project (PTP VI/PIR VII). This lack of land tenure security has caused some villagers to hesitate to make long-term investments in new plantings (kebun), while others have increased their planting and rehabilitation hoping for greater future income, or for compensation if their lands are taken for oil palm plantation.