Initiation of the Independent Learning Program at the Independent Campus of the Faculty of Biology UGM in Blotan Hamlet, Wedomartani, Sleman in an Effort to Improve Urban Farming and Agro-Industry Development

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In connection with community service activities in the target villages that are planned to be carried out in Blotan hamlet, Wedomartani-Sleman, two lecturers from the Faculty of Biology, Gadjah Mada University, namely Prof. Dr. Kumala Dewi MSc.St. and Dr. Endah Retnaningrum, M. Eng has held discussions with farmer partners and MSME actors on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, from 10:00 to 12:30. The discussion activity was carried out in the pavilion owned by Mr. Suwardi (chairman of RT 01 Dusun Blotan) and was attended by as many as 10 community members as representatives of farmer groups and MSME actors. From the discussion, it is planned that various coaching, counseling and student involvement activities will be carried out in the context of implementing independent learning. The coaching activities related to the corn cultivation process, starting from soil processing, plant care, harvest and post-harvest processes. In terms of making corn chips, there are also many things that still need to be developed related to hygiene and quality assurance during cooking, pressing corn, drying and packaging. The waste problem also still needs to be addressed both in terms of corn crop farming and corn chip production so that this rural agro-industrial activity can also be waste. Thus, it is hoped that urban farming and rural agro-industry activities are one of the methods that can support the achievement of food security and have a positive impact on the development and improvement of social, economic and environmental conditions in Blotan Hamlet.

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This activity is one of the efforts in facing the challenge of meeting food needs which is one of the targets faced by almost all countries, especially with the change in global climate which results in extremely hot weather at one time and too high rainfall at other times. This situation causes a decrease in yields of rice, corn or other food crops. It is estimated that if there are no effective adaptation efforts to global climate change, the value of crops worldwide will decline by 30% by 2050 ( -of-food/ ). Urban agriculture or Urban Farming is an agricultural activity in urban areas to meet food needs. This activity is also an alternative in efforts to mitigate global climate change. Urban farming can bring the agricultural system closer to consumers and provide new job opportunities with the existence of MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).

The “Hartowijaya Agri Mandiri” Urban Farming activity has been established and carried out independently by the residents of Dusun Blotan, coordinated by Ms. Cecilia and Mr. Clive Pickering. The farmers of Dusun Blotan have also created an atmosphere of positive activity so that a chain of agriculture and industry is formed from upstream to downstream in the village. These agro-industrial activities are a form of sustainable short supply system important for further development. Through the concept of rural agro-industry, a group of agricultural actors and MSMEs can work together. A real example that has been carried out in Blotan Hamlet is the planting of P21 corn by agricultural actors “Hartowijaya Agri Mandiri” which is then sold to MSME “Rahma Manggala” which makes corn chips. The location of the corn farm and the production of corn chips is also quite close, so as to reduce transportation costs, besides that the manufacture of corn chips is also carried out every day so that producers do not need a warehouse for storing corn harvests. Thus the efficiency of Urban Farming and Agro-Industry activities can be applied from upstream to downstream.

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