This project envisioned sustainable development and good governance of land and water management by transfer of knowledge and manpower development to Water User Associations and Farmers Groups in tidal Lowlands in Indonesia.
It tackled the urgent need for guidelines on water management and operation and maintenance in the Tidal lowlands.
Indonesia avails over large Lowland areas with an estimated area of about 33.4 million ha, out of which about 20 million ha is Tidal Lowlands with good potential for agricultural production. Lowlands are highly suited for mechanization and often found with relatively large farm-holdings, good for an efficient rice production with competitive world market prices. Tidal Lowlands in the South Sumatra province are already developed for more than 25 years, but rice production and development in these areas is still at a low level.
The Central Government has been deeply involved for a long time, both in research, planning and implementation. However there is still a high need to improve the performance for a sustainable system of Operation & Maintenance (O&M).
Further the National Research Agency for Food Crops (AARD) conducted research and developed proper farming system technologies in South Sumatra between 1988 and 2001. However it was felt that there was a need to familiarize these technologies on large scale and implement them with the farmers. These problems are mainly related to logistic and financial problems, both found with the farmers and the government.
The objectives of this project are related to the need to increase rice productivity; find solutions for logistic and organizational limitations; it organized the O&M of the system with an optimum input of Farmer’s Groups and introduces the proper mechanization techniques.
This project is an integrated part of the activities of the Indonesian financed Rice Estate project in Tidal Lowlands, South Sumatra province, Regency of Banyuasin, supported by the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture from Indonesia.
The main pillars of the project were to improve the operation and maintenance (O&M) with Water User Associations, familiarize and implement Farming System Technologies, and assess the need for Water Control Infrastructure. Its main achievements were:
Investigations for Soil, Topography and Hydrology. Monitoring system of Land Qualities. Testing of Duflow Model
Assessment of Agricultural management in area with inputs. Introduction of On-Farm Water Management system. Effect of use of tractor. Recommendations for tractor and pump use. Cropping pattern.
Assessment of Water Management Plan for pilot area. Introduction of Plan to Water Users Associations in the area. Planning of operation, planning of maintenance.
Assessment of O&M in the area including Organization, Planning procedures and Budget procedures.
Monitoring of effects of O&M in the field at two tertiary blocks (each 8 Ha in size) located along Tertiary canals TC4 and TC12.
Collection of daily data of key indicators for the hydrodynamic model and the operation of the On-Farm Water management system and the Canal water management.
Activities and Outputs
The project targeted the Water Users Associations in respect to Water Management, Operation & Maintenance with a fully participatory approach in three Pilot Areas, with different environmental settings. A derivative objective of the project was to improve and modify the newly developed Guidelines and Manuals for O&M in Tidal Lowlands in Indonesia.
It contributed to planning, budgeting and implementation of the needed Water Control Infrastructure by Government Agencies. Together with farmers, solutions were brainstormed for logistic and financial problems related to the technology development for mechanized food crop production aiming at two crops per year. With the local counterpart, the NGO Lowland-wetland and Coastal Area Data and Information Center, a monitoring network for the collection of field data, the development of a GIS as well as the conduction of Training for Farmers on the O&M of the water control infrastructure was developed.
The staffing of UNESCO-IHE was primarily responsible for the assessment of the Water Management and the O&M with the Water User Associations.
The Water Control Infrastructure in the fields was monitored and assessed on the quality of the structures itself as well as on the operation of it, at several levels and in several pilot plots in the area. Together with the local counterpart, the NGO Pusat Data dan Informasi Daerah Rawa dan Pesisir, a monitoring network for the collection of field data , the development of a GIS as well as the conduction of Training for Farmers on the O&M of the water control infrastructure was developed.
At the start of the program there were no, or hardly, any operated tertiary and secondary water control structures in the area. In addition almost no attention was paid to the maintenance of the canals, nor by the government nor by the farmers. One of the main effects of the program, were the increases in agricultural production of the first rice crop from around 2 tons/ha up to 6 to 8 tons/ha in some areas. Together with the higher prices that could be obtained, the living conditions of the farmers have improved substantially. It also turned out that many of the farmers have obtained additional land. With the introduction of mechanization one may expect that this process of increase in farm size will go on in the near future, making the tidal lowlands really agriculture production areas, especially for rice production.