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November 23, 2010

Bedugul’s famous strawberries taste so good

BEDUGUL, Tabanan,Bali

If you’ve ever wondered why Bedugul’s famous strawberries taste so good, you can thank rabbits. Growers at Candi Kuning, near Bedugul, have turned to rabbit urine to fertilise their strawberry plants and vegetable crops.
One of the growers, Nyoman Suta, has been using rabbit urine as liquid fertiliser on his 2,000-square-metre (20-are) strawberry field for nearly a year and says his crops have grown healthily and taste very sweet.
“Insect pests had been attacking crops in the area but my strawberries and vegetables are resistant because of bio-urine,” he said.
But only a few of the area’s 6,000 farmers are using bio-urine as fertiliser so far, even though it is a traditional practice around the world, dating back to ancient times.
Indian farmers use cow urine to grow fruit and vegetables. In Finland, farmers use human urine to fertilise tomato and other fruit plants. The US space agency NASA developed hydroponic farming using urine-based fertiliser.
Experts say urine is a good source of nitrogen and other minerals needed to fertilise soil, providing it is used correctly. However, the rapid change of farming technology, government policies and demands for higher yields have forced farmers to use chemical-based fertilisers.
Indonesian farmers have been using chemical fertilisers for more than 30 years, when “green revolution” policies were introduced by the Suharto regime. But a growing number of the country’s farmers, including many in Bali, have begun to blame huge environmental losses on the use of toxic fertiliser pollutants.
A Udayana University School of Agriculture research project recently disclosed an alarming report on the condition of the island’s soil.
The report revealed that the excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides had badly damaged soil conditions at most of Bali’s agricultural sites. Soil, rivers and other water sources have been seriously polluted by chemical waste. “In many parts of the island, we no longer see worms and small animals that naturally fertilise the soil,” the report said.
Hidayah Bali Rural Agricultural Training Centre coordinator Putu Wijana said his organisation had gradually introduced bio-urine to local farmers over the last few years, while the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides “seems uncontrollable.”
It introduced rabbit urine in Candi Kuning because it is renowned as one of the most prolific rabbit-breeding sites in Bali. “Farmers are able to apply an integrated farming system by raising rabbits and growing fruit and vegetable plants,” Wijana said.
Farmers may get up to 100 kilograms of strawberries a day from one hectare of land and can sell rabbits too.
Bio-urine is also cheap and easy to process and fits Bali’s plan to develop Indonesia’s first “clean and green” province.
The provincial administration has already provided Rp200 million (US$22,300) to every farmers group that develops organic farming. But Wijana said many farmers were “too lazy” to process nature-based fertilisers.
News of Bedugul’s sweet rabbit-enhanced strawberries comes as the provincial government announced funding of Rp10.3 billion ($1.1 million) to help local farmers adopt organic farming methods by 2013.
Ten farmers’ collectives applied for the programme when the administration first rolled it out in 2009, and received Rp200 million each to change their operations to comply with organic farming standards.
They also used the money to buy 20 head of cattle each.
This year, 50 collectives have applied for the program, according to Made Putra Suryawan, head of the Bali Agricultural Office.
Under the programme, the administration guides the farmers on how to integrate their crop and livestock farming operations through developing biogas collectors, compost-processing units and reforestation efforts.
“The farmers who participated in 2009 now produce their own compost and biogas for their own household needs,” Putra said on Wednesday.
He said that next year his office expected to enlist 100 farmers’ collectives from across the island. “By 2013, we hope to have helped 350 collectives successfully practise organic farming, so that Bali will be known as an organic island,” he said.
The Bali government hopes to ensure that 70 percent of the island’s produce is grown organically by 2013. One step towards achieving this is phasing out the current subsidy on chemical fertilisers and promoting the use of organic varieties.
This year, half of the provincial fertiliser subsidy of Rp4 billion ($447,000) has been allocated to organic fertilisers, Putra said. “Next year, we’ll provide a Rp3-billion ($335,000) subsidy for organic fertilisers and Rp1 billion ($111,000) for chemical fertilisers and in 2012 chemical fertilisers will no longer be subsidized by the provincial administration.”
He said farm incomes could be boosted by switching to organic produce which fetched higher prices.
But the government’s plan has been criticised as too ambitious. Kauci Gunanjar, director of the Manikaya Foundation, said an island-wide switch to organic farming would require a lengthy and sustained education campaign that could last more than five years, given the farmers’ decades-long dependence on chemical fertilisers.
Source : the Bali times
Status Terbaru Gunung Berapi di Bali
Rabu, 24 Nopember 2010
Mount Batur Volcanic Slopes Closed to Tourism
I.          Gunung Batur
  1. Aktifitas Gunung
  1. Sejak tanggal 8 November 2009 pukul 20:00 WITA status kegiatan G. Batur berada dalam status Waspada.
  2. Aktivitas kegempaan G. Batur menunjukan kecenderungan menurun, yang ditandai oleh menurunnya jumlah Gempa Low Frequency (LF), Gempa Vulkanik.
  3. Secara visual tidak terlihat perubahan pada aktivitas hembusan dari Kawah G. Batur.
  4. Berdasarkan evaluasi data kegempaan dan visual maka terhitung mulai tanggal 19 November 2010 pukul 17:00 WITA, status kegiatan G. Batur diturunkan dari Waspada (Level II) menjadi Normal (Level I).
  1. Rekomendasi
Sehubungan dengan status Normal, maka kami rekomendasikan:
  1. Masyarakat dan wisatawan tetap tidak mendekati daerah Kawah IV. G. Batur.
  2. Masyarakat di wilayah Provinsi Bali diharap tenang, tetap waspada, dan tidak mempercayai isu-isu tentang erupsi G. Batur. Masyarakat dapat melakukan kegiatan seperti biasa dan diharap senantiasa mengikuti arahan Satlak PB dan Satkorlak PB setempat.
  3. Pemerintah Daerah senantiasa berkoordinasi dengan Pos Pengamatan G. Batur  di Desa Penelokan, Kecamatan Kintamani, Kabupaten Bangli atau dengan Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi di Bandung.
(Sumber informasi Gede Bagiarta petugas Pos pengamatan Gunung Batur dan website Badan Geologi
 II.       Gunung Agung
  1. Aktifitas Gunung
Status Gunug Agung dari sejak letusan Tahun 1963 sampai saat ini adalah aktif normal dan tidak pernah terjadi peningkatan status.
  1. Rekomendasi
Masyarakat di sekitar gunung tetap dapat beraktifitas seperti biasa.
(Sumber informasi I Gede Sudarsana petugas Pos pengamatan Gunung Agung)
 III.    Gunung Batukaru
a.                            Aktifitas Gunung
Merupakan gunung api tipe C yang berarti gunung api tidak aktif sehingga tidak ada pos pemantauan khusus.
  1. Rekomendasi
Masyarakat di sekitar gunung tetap dapat beraktifitas seperti biasa.
(Sumber informasi Gede Bagiarta petugas Pos pengamatan Gunung Batur).

 19 volcanoes across Indonesia are currently classified at a "Waspada" alert status, the second highest danger level just short of a "Siaga" status reserved for mountains at an elevated level of tectonic activity.

One of the volcanoes placed on alert is Bali's Mount Batur which, as a result, has been closed to mountain climbers and other activities on its slopes until further notice. Mount Batur is Bali's second highest volcano at 1,717 meters and is located 63 kilometers from the island's capital of Denpasar.

Bali's highest volcano is sacred Mount Agung at 3,142 meters located in the regency of Karangasem.

Indonesia's Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation Center in Badung, West Java, placed Mount Batur in a "waspada" status on November 8, 2010, moving it up from its previous classification at "normal and active" or "awas."

A unique "volcano within a volcano" Mount Batur can be closely observed by motorists driving along the edge of an ancient caldera from the villages of Kintamani and Penelokan. Mount Batur is actively emitting smoke with seismic activity also on the increase, according to the observation post manned the mountain.

According to Gede Bagiada, a government volcano watcher who works at Mount Batur, quoted by,: "In a 'waspada' status, the Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation Center is forbidding tourism and mountain climbers from venturing out onto Mount Batur. This prohibition will remain in place until such as time as the mountain resumes a more normal pattern of activity."

From 1804 until 2000 there have been 26 recorded explosions of Mount Batur. Scientist point to evidence of ancient cataclysmic explosions dating back 26,000 years. The most recent devastating explosion took place on August 2, 1926 with lava flows that devastated the village of Batur Kuno at the foot of the mountain.
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