Climate Adaptive Farming in Indonesia

About the case study:

With the support of the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and in partnership with the Asia Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN), Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund hosted an innovation capacity-building workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia, during the week commencing 29 May 2017 for organizations working in the Asia-Pacific region. The HIF and ADRRN invited newly formed and early stage partnerships, with the lead organization based in the region. This case study was developed based on the workshop.


Approx. 133,682.4 hectares (90%) of total agricultural land in Gunungkidul District are rain-fed dry land with high dependence on the precipitation (Muazam, 2015). Irrigated land is very limited. Rain-fed rice fields are categorized as sub-optimal with low fertility soil and limited water availability (Prihasto, 2013). According to Agricultural Research and Development Agency in 2013, the rice production for the whole district was relatively low at the range of 3 to 3.5 tonnes per hectare and was very likely to be improved.


The pattern shifting of rainfall and dry seasons, as the direct impact of global climate change, has caused the exposure of extreme conditions towards population in Gunungkidul District. For illustration the high evaporation rate which resulted in more communal ponds to dry up in alarming speed, and have forced the people to buy water for household and agricultural purposes. Another threat would be on high occurences of crops failures mainly due to failure to predict the seasonal change. The use of chemical fertilizer such as pesticides and others chemical substances help grow the plants. But, in other hand its also drained the soil nutrients in the long run.

Approach / Stakeholder participation

The daptation program in 4 villages in Gunungkidul district of Yogyakarta was designed to accommodate conservation of an artificial lake as source of water during long dry season and to create pilot on climate adaptive farming which combines organic farming, biological pest control and drought resistant seeds from local variety. The program was carried out in collaboration with LGUs in Gunungkidul (such as Public Work Agency, Food and Agriculture Agency, Food Crops and Horticulture Agency, and District Disaster Management Agency), the Institute of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in the sub-district level, local authorities, and farmers’ groups. This year the farmers are not suffering from crop failure nor pests attack, evenmore the harvest is higher than the previous traditional farming technique and those using non-organic fertilizer.


YEU facilitates farmers in climate adaptive farming which combines organic farming, biological pest control and drought resistant seeds from local variety to reduce the risks of crop failure and pests attack, evenmore the harvest result is higher than the traditional farming practices. The biological pesticides and drough resistant seeds are available locally which allo for replication in other areas in Gunung Kidul.
This innovation is not only maintaining local wisdom (through preservation of local variety) but also improving famers’ traditional techniques (in pest controls, organic farming). The farmers can reduced the risk of crop failure and pests attack so that it can improve their livelihood condition. The farmers also can reduce the cost for farming for buying fertilizer, pesticides or seedlings since they can make it by them selves


By applying this innovation on climate adaptive farming the farmers will be able to reduce the risks of crop failure and pest attack. The climate adaptive farming will allow the farmers to use local variety with optimum result, the use of organic fertilizer and biological pesticide are also environmentally friendly. As a result, it improves the livelihood of the farmers and gradually restore the soil conditions.
The challenge we face during the development of innovation is deciding which local variety are suitable for the specific farmland for demonstration plot. So far YEU has identified two local varieties that are suitable for dry areas because each has different characteristic. It is also challenging to find farmland that meets the requirement for organic demonstration plot, because it should be isolated (not contaminated from non-organic farming). Therefore, thorough field checking is needed to select the demonstration plot.
In the beginning, the farmers are also hesitant to provide wide farmland for organic farming demonstration plot because they are worried that the harvest results are very low compared to their practices with chemical fertilizer. Therefore, peer sharing with farmers groups that have practising organic farming and committment from farmers are strongly encourage.
To ensure sustainability, farmers are also need to be capacitated to be able to transfer the knowledge and skills gained throughout the process to other farmers’ groups. Therefore it requires support to make materials that are famers friendly (in terms of language, terminology and visualization).