MATARAM (Lombok) – A total of 22 post-graduate students from the Land Resource Management (LARM), Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) had a hands-on experience on the techniques of paddy cultivation in low soil moisture, known as ‘Gogo Rancah’ during their academic visit to the Faculty of Agriculture of Universitas Mataram (UNRAM) recently.
Dr. Ir. Sukartono, the Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, UNRAM, said that Mataram which was once an under developed area has now become the main rice bowl of Indonesia and is exporting rice to other parts of Indonesia.
According to him, the ‘Gogo Rancah’ technique will result in more rice cultivation, and this will improve the economy of Mataram.
The ‘Gogo Rancah’ technique which requires the formation of water tanks or retention basin is used mostly in southern Mataram as the area has low rainfall. However in areas with high rainfall, Mataram produces paddy three times per year.
“The water tanks or retention basin will channel water from the highlands to the lowlands. That is why our paddy fields are on terraced hills and the seedlings are sown directly before the rainy season begins,” he said.
Dr. Daljit Singh Karam and Dr. Dzarifah Zulperi, Senior Lecturers from the Soil Management Department, Faculty of Agriculture, UPM also accompanied the students during the program.
The LARM Student Leader of the Faculty of Agriculture (UPM), Mohd Shahrul Nizam Mohd Salleh said that, “Mataram was chosen as a must-see academic visit as it is not only popular for its agriculture but also its tourism.”
“We witnessed maximum usage of land for paddy cultivation as well as corn, chilli and peanuts. This shows that agriculture is a very important activity in Lombok which has a population of 4 million people,” he added.
“We also had the chance to visit the Gili Trawangan Island, join the locals at Benang-Stokel, experience the traditional life of the Sasak ethnic tribe and discover pearl cultivation which is synonymous with Lombok,” he said.
LARM post-graduate student, Hilmy Sazlin Azny Abdul Aziz said that, “Land development is very different in Malaysia and Indonesia as it is quite difficult to find urban agriculture in Malaysia.”
“However in Lombok, the commercial cultivation of paddy is done next to the airport. I am confident that urban agriculture can be carried out in Malaysia on a large scale if all internal and external factors of land development are taken into consideration.”
“This course has enabled LARM students to go beyond borders and study the land development of a neighbouring country,” he said.
Another student, Hanis Huzaira Abd Hanan said that “The ‘Gogo Rancah’ technique and visiting the paddy fields are very interesting and according to her, agro-tourism can indeed increase the income of the people and country.”
Her friend, Norizah Ramly said that “All the knowledge learned in class and during the visit will be useful when making decisions if she were to be involved in area development and any problem solving.”
The LARM course is a two-year program offered by the Faculty of Agriculture, UPM which focuses on theory and practical sustainable land development and it encompasses the knowledge of soil science, land laws, land conservation, waste management and sustainable land management. - UPM
Updated:: 22/08/2017 [noridahanim]
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