Jeneponto District strategises to create sustainable livelihoods and conserve the environment
Jeneponto in the province of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, has officially begun to implement a sustainable livelihoods and conservation strategy that was facilitated by the Agroforestry and Forestry in Sulawesi project.
The launch of the strategy was marked with a tree-planting ceremony by the head of the district in Rumbia Village, 16 March 2016. Rumbia was selected as the most symbolically appropriate place for the ceremony because it is one of the driest parts of the district. The tree planting took place prior to a workshop on the strategy, which was facilitated by the Agroforestry and Forestry in Sulawesi: Linking Knowledge to Action project funded by Global Affairs Canada and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.
‘Even though Rumbia is dry and hot, there are many places of interest: waterfalls, mountain peaks, beautiful views and nice people’, said Rahman Mas’ud, head of Rumbia Sub-district. ‘The symbolism of the ceremony with our district head will inspire the community to also plant more trees. One of the reasons we chose Rumbia Village for this activity was to start to market its tourism potential’.
‘Planting trees is one way of increasing land and environmental conservation,’ said the head of Jeneponto District, Iksan Iskandar, during the ceremony, which was also the opening of an environmental services’ workshop conducted as part of the strategy. ‘This is not the first time I’ve planted trees with, and for, communities and it definitely won’t be the last.
‘Transforming the landscape of this district obviously requires a lot of effort’, continued Iskandar as he invited all of the 45 participants in the workshop to be actively involved in implementing the strategy and to even practice elements of it, such as planting trees, at home.
‘We have begun to see a change of mindset in our community towards maintaining natural resources. We now know that Rumbia is a good place for agroforestry. We can see many new seedlings starting to green the way to the waterfalls nearby. This is a manifestation of the hard work already carried out by everyone’.
Pratiknyo Purnomosidhi, AgFor coordinator for South Sulawesi Province, responded on behalf of the project, saying that, ’Rumbia has a lot of hidden potential: natural resources, smart villagers and cooperative government. But the most difficult thing is to change people’s mindset. We started with a small group in Ujung Bulu Village, which has become a good example for others. It obviously takes time and much effort but together we can change our mindsets and our landscapes’.
AgFor had only started its activities in Jeneponto and neighbouring Gowa in 2014 after establishing the program firstly in Bantaeng and Bulukumba districts in 2012. AgFor offers hope to farmers through training in agroforestry and forestry. After establishing itself in South and Southeast Sulawesi provinces, operations in Gorontalo Province began in early 2014.