Science - December 1, 2005

Wageningen helps ginger farmers

Wageningen UR is contributing to a project to help ginger farmers hit by the tsunami in Aceh to get back on their feet.

The village of Lampaya was renowned throughout the province of Aceh for the ginger grown by over four hundred farmers. The tsunami last year brought this prospering activity on the Indonesian coast to an abrupt halt. The land and houses were decimated, and ginger seed and fertiliser were lost. The farmers were well organised and had just built a factory to process the ginger as well, but this was also destroyed by the tidal wave.

A project with four hundred thousand euros from the UN should help the ginger farmers to resume their activities. Huub Stoetzer from the IAC will give technical training on recovering the land and pest and disease control. Sierk Plaat of Applied Plant Research will assist the farmers in organising themselves. In a follow-up project the factory will also be rebuilt.

The project is being led by a local development organisation. Farmer participation in farmer field schools and setting up small businesses will also be part of the training provided. In addition to direct training for farmer representatives, Stoetzer and Plaat will also do training of trainers from a local university. / JT

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