Pepper farmers welcome more detailed information on rainfall
What actions do smallholder pepper farmers take during the dry and wet season to minimize losses? The project SpiceUp conducted research amongst pepper farmers in Indonesia. One of the results shows that more detailed weather information could be helpful to plan their harvesting.
The results show that wetness can be a problem as it invites pests and diseases, which has a high impact on yield and tree losses. Diseases which are often mentioned include: foot rot disease, yellow disease and insects.
Despite this, many farmers do not have a drainage system in place, even though some create ditches when there is water logging or use mounds below the pepper trees. They simply lack the resources to invest in proper drainage systems. However, farmers think drainage is particularly important, especially for farms with flat topography.
Information on rainfall
Aside from that, plants need dryness before flowering. Rainfall before harvesting is damaging because the berries fall off the trees, which reduces the quality and yield. Therefore farmers are looking for information about the onset of rain to plan their harvesting. Most farmers don’t receive weather information, but base their actions on their knowledge of weather patterns. More detailed weather information could help the farmers, something which SpiceUp will be providing via mobile app.
According to the farmers, drought does not cause yield problems if the dry season is normal (approximately 5 months). The plant wilts and some farmers even stated that it can actually help a good harvest. Only when the dry season is longer than 7 months do some farmers report tree loss.
No farmer irrigates during a normal dry season. When the drought is longer than 5 months, some farmers will irrigate the plants manually.
SpiceUp is a Public Private Partnership project which aims to provide geodata based information services to support 100,000 pepper farmers in Indonesia. In this way the farmers can increase production, income, food security and reduce their inputs of water, fertilizer and pesticides. Four information services will be provided via an SMS service and Mobile App:
- Drought/Irrigation Advice;
- Fertilizer Advice;
- Good Agricultural Practices Advice; and
- Sustainable Tracing System/Market information.
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Geodata for Agriculture and Water
SpiceUp is part of the broader Geodata for Agriculture and Water program (G4AW) of the Netherlands Space Office, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ICCO is currently the consortium lead for two G4AW programs in South East Asia – Indonesia (SMARTseeds) and Vietnam (GREENcoffee) – both of which have been running since 2016.