It is hard to have an idea of how long she'll need to make her dream come true. But one thing's for sure, the 500 m2 of land on which she has grown organic vegetables for the past year is getting greener and greener.
Napsiah never imagined that her attempts at growing vegetables would bear fruit. From this small piece of land, Napsiah is now able to earn a living. Growing vegetables with her husband, Jalan, supplements their income from rice farming. "From the rice harvest I used to get about Rp 840,000 every four months. Now, on top of that I have extra income of Rp 300,000 - Rp 400,000 a month from 500m2 of land." (400,000 Indonesian rupiah is about US$48.)
"So, let's learn together about organic farming. Because organic farming is good for the family economy, and good for other people too. It's easy. You just have to be patient and care for your plants," said Napsiah "Before my wife started this business, I thought of rice as our main source of income. The vegetables were just a sideline. Now, I think of the organic vegetables my wife grows as our family's main source of income," Ibu Jalan, Napsiah's husband.
The success of her business has introduced Napsiah to totally new experiences. A tertiary college in Malang invited her to share experiences about growing organic vegetables. "Oh, I was so nervous having to speak in front of educated people," she said. She also delights in sharing her experience with her neighbours. It comes as no surprise that many of the people living near Napsiah have started to follow in her footsteps.
Mitra Bumi Indonesia
The story began when Mitra Bumi Indonesia (MBI), a local NGO supported by Oxfam based in Malang, East Java, began promoting organic vegetable farming. At that time, Napsiah's son, Suprie, a student in the Faculty of Agriculture at Brawijaya University, was doing his field work at MBI and got hold of some organic vegetable seed from the organisation. Napsiah and Suprie tried planting the seeds on 50m2 of land. They planted five kinds of vegetables on 1m2 plots. Napsiah had her doubts. "Would it be possible to make a profit growing vegetables on such small plots of land?
Her doubts proved unfounded when she was able to harvest vegetables twice a week. And that's what sparked her interest in this business, all the more so when she discovered that it was cheaper to grow vegetables organically, because she could produce the production inputs, such as organic fertiliser, herself.
These vegetables are sold to shops managed by MBI. Supported by Oxfam GB since 2001 these shops have specialised in taking delivery of organic farm products, especially vegetables, from farmers like Napsiah. The shops provide Napsiah and other organic vegetable farmers supported by MBI with an outlet for their organic vegetables, for which prices and quality standards are jointly agreed. Of course, the MBI shops cannot take delivery of all the organic vegetables they produce.
Read more about Ibu Napsiah at http://www.farmingsolutions.org/successtories/stories.asp?id=168 and http://www.leisa.info/index.php?url=article-details.tpl&p[_id]=67294