Jakarta (Greeners) – The tribes in Papua have wisdom and food security strategies for survival. Residents are able to provide local food independently using traditional farming systems that have been implemented for generations for thousands of years. Agricultural techniques adapted to their respective areas such as highlands, lowlands, to the coast.
Biology lecturer at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Cenderawasih University in Jayapura, Daawia Suhasiswa said that traditional Papuan communities were farming using a polyculture system or mixed cultivation that could guarantee food security. This method is more applied than monoculture planting systems that have caused water, soil and air pollution. The use of fertilizers and pesticides in modern agriculture also causes chemical pesticides and herbicides which are harmful to human health and the health of the Earth. “
This polyculture system has been practiced for hundreds of years and guarantees food security and prosperity. We need to learn how to farm Papuans, “Daawia said in an Online Discussion on the Completion of Papuan Indigenous Peoples’ Food Security during the Pandemic Period, Wednesday, April 29, 2020.
Papua Traditional Farming System
According to him, the traditional farming system in Eastern Indonesia can be divided into two types, namely shifting cultivation and permanent agriculture. In the Baliem valley and the area around Lake Paniai, shifting cultivation systems are applied on the slopes and foothills. Whereas permanent agriculture is carried out at the bottom of valleys and river banks. Adaptation is also carried out to adjust conditions and a much higher population. “
(Activities) Farming Papuan people depends on where they live. Shifting cultivation is carried out on infertile land. Whereas permanent agriculture is applied to more fertile land, “Daawia said.
He said food security was responded differently by tribes living in the highlands, lowlands, and coastal areas. Tribes in the highlands such as Dani, Yali, Kapauku, and Amungme, for example, they rely on sweet potatoes, cassava, uwi, bananas, red fruits and vegetables, and raising pigs.
Whereas tribes in the lowlands rely on sago, implement gardening systems, and collect forest products. While in the coastal areas, the Ormu tribe from the Cycloop Mountains, Sentani and the Kimaam tribe from the Kolepom Mountains, Merauke, moved fields by planting taro and uwi and other plants such as cassava, bananas, and sweet potatoes. “
One family has two or three gardens that can be planted and harvested alternately so it is very rare to experience food shortages. They also have a strategy of harvesting gradually. Farmers only harvest large-sized sweet potatoes, small ones are allowed to grow until they reach large sizes. This is also a strategy for storing and preserving food in the ground, “Daawia said.
Papua’s Local Food Shifted by New Commodity
The inclusion of modern agriculture such as rice fields and oil palm plantations which are not cultured from Papua, affects agricultural patterns and makes people unable to compete.
There are many new plants that affect the land of Papua, such as coffee, cloves and nutmeg, “said Papua Jungle Chef Founder Charles Toto.
He said that the continued cultivation of new plants in Papua would damage the local food system there. According to him, the local government should make policies to protect sago forests. “If necessary, it will be used as food stocks at the National Logistics Agency and warehouse centers so that traditional communities really enjoy their own local food,” he said.
AMAN (Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara)
The Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) of West Papua, Feki Yance Wilson Mobalen said, one example of this shift in local Papuan food had occurred in Kampung Waijan, Salawati Island, Raja Ampat. Sago Hamlet was evicted and replaced by paddy fields or rice fields.”
Likewise in Sorong Regency, Kampung Wonosobo, there is an expansion of roads for the economic area which will be in the middle of the sago village, “he said.
According to Feki the displacement of indigenous Papuan lands that produce local food such as sago has occurred since 2016 and there is still an expansion of land to date.
Author: Dewi Purningsih
Enhanced Google translation by West Papua Blog