Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world with 255.1 million population in 2016. Unfortunately, Indonesia has the fifth-highest number of stunted children in the world. More than one out of three children, or 37 percent, in Indonesia are stunted. It means that 9.5 million children under five are malnourished. Malnutrition costs Indonesia more than US$ 5 billion annually due to the lost of productivity as the result of poor education standard and diminishing physical capability (World Food Programme 2014).
According to Pramono (2009), three of four poor people in the world are farmer. In Indonesia, farmer is mostly categorized in farm labors that hunger is usually happened to them. They spend 70% of their income to buy food. Crop failure would likely to put the farmer and their family on malnutrition due to the lack of income. In fact, Indonesia does not have any government agencies that concern about national food fulfillment, including farmer’s family. If we talk about Bulog, it is Indonesia’s national company to gain profit so that it works when there are some demand to market operations. To eradicate hunger tragedy, agriculture development in the future should not be only oriented in food production but also food sufficiency fulfillment and farmer family prosperity. With those additional orientations, agriculture development indicator will not place farmer’s family as food production supporting purpose, but farmer’s family food fulfillment itself becomes the main orientation.
Another factor causing hunger in Indonesia is fluctuating food prices which make it difficult to afford staple foods. Distinct market prices can be corrected by ensuring that farmers are provided with sufficient information about optimum conditions to grow a crop and the latest agricultural technology. The government can offer subsidies to farmers to lower their production costs and to new enterprises who wish to sell local product to the population. In short term, blocking or taxing imports from other countries may encourage Indonesians to buy local product.
Hunger in Indonesia is still in serious level (21.9 points) based on Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2016. GHI is made to measure and track hunger condition in global scale. This index is issued by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), an international research institute that always does routine research in hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. The escalation of GHI index means hunger situation gets worse. GHI uses four indicators that can represent national food fulfillment such as malnutrition population, body weight also under-five height and mortality rate.
GHI Index of Indonesia is decreasing in comparison to 2008 but it is still in serious level. This reduction has been achieved by a combination of measures including financial support for underprivileged families so that they can afford basic amenities such as food. More than 19 million Indonesia’s population face malnutrition. Moreover, about 2 or 3 of 100 children in Indonesia die before 5 years old. If we compare with other countries in South East Asia, Indonesia hunger level is only better than Laos. Malaysia is the only country in South East Asia that has lowest hunger level with 9.6 points.
In the future, it can be predicted that there will be less farmer in Indonesia. The average age of farmers in Indonesia is 52 years old (LIPI 2017). Farmers’ household in 2013 is about 14.1 million. This is decreased by 0.41 percent or about 58.4 thousand household compared to farmer’s households in 2003(BPS 2014). This phenomenon will impact on reduction of domestic food product expansion. Most of Indonesian farmers do not have agriculture expert skill due to low education. Lack of skill, low income, and education make technology adaptation hard for farmers. In fact, agriculture development nowadays is really depending on technology control. If we compare agriculture current situation between Indonesia and Australia, it is very different. In Australia, farmer is categorized as rich people because they have broad land and use modern technology. Thus, their agriculture system is more efficient and produce maximum product. Indonesia’s agriculture paradigm should be changed. We should not be focused only on food production but also prospering farmer oriented.
Young generation seems like does not have interest in agriculture sector due to some reasons such as their skin will be darker, the earnings are not enough to provide for life, it is dirty, it doesn’t have a future unlike a job in the city, etc. This is why we have to change the stigma from the very start which is childhood.
Early Child Development
According to UNICEF (2001) in the journal of Early Child Development, early childhood is the most rapid period of development in human life. The years from conception through birth to eight years of age are critical to the complete and healthy cognitive, emotional, and physical growth of children.
We can utilize this period to broaden children’s knowledge on agriculture so when they are older they are enable to understand what agriculture is not only by the concept but also the reality of it. Most people presume agriculture is all about how inconvenient it is to work on this field. What they don’t realize is agriculture is more than the heavy work, it is a long process from upstream and downstream.
Teaching children, as we know, doesn’t end well if it is done too stern or too formal. There are three best ways of teaching children i.e. talking with them, teaching through play and example, and instructing directly. Talking with them can be done by asking question which can lead to discussion, for example, where do the food come from? Who planted the food? How to grow food? This could actually make the children aware of the thing that being asked and encourage them to think. Teaching through play and example can be considered as the most delightful way because through this children can have fun times while escalating their creativity, asking them to garden in the backyard or making new things with home waste will surely bring them joy and knowledge.
With early childhood development being optimized, when they are older they are enable to understand agriculture not only but the concept but also how it really is and hopefully some of them pursue a career in agriculture field. Hopefully, there are some youngsters who still care about future nation agriculture such as by Hi-Farm Education and Mikiga programs.
Figure 1 Team who proposed the idea of Hi-Farm
Regarding to the decreasing interest of agriculture in young generation, some college students from Tidar University create a unique special game for children with agriculture based called Hi-Farm Education. Hi-Farm Education works like snake and ladder game with some modifications to introduce agriculture to the children. This idea is proposed by Ayu Septia Andriani,Muhammad Dian Fery Firmanda, Ahmad Choirul, and Diky Ilham Irvandiyanto as their project for Student Creativity Program – Social Service. With this program, children are introduced some steps about plant cultivation and they are also encouraged to practice it by themselves from planting, treating until harvesting as those are the application of its game.
Figure 2 Kids playing Hi-Farm
They are optimist that this game can educate kindergarten and toddler (0-4 years old) so that these young generation can gain their interest in agriculture and more concern about their environment.
MIKIGA: Mini Kids Garden
Figure 3 Team who proposed the idea of MIKIGA
At the moment, the interest toward the agriculture was starting to be set aside from the elementary to the university level. The interest of young generation was to occupy the field of agriculture to start showing the significant reduction. Based on the survey done at SDN Babakan Dramaga 05, Dramaga Sub-district, Bogor District, the interest and the insight of the child toward the agriculture was still relatively low. Thus, to finish the problem a group of Bogor Agricultural University students felt the need to give solution to the introduction of agriculture which was interesting, satisfying, and containing the creativity element to the children of SD. The group of students consisted of IhsanAlfalah, M. Haikal Catur Saputra, Iskandar Zulkarnaen, Ricky Sidik Perman, Ikhwan Ibnu Arbi. The glowing of the electronic games which develop rapidly lately also influences the decrease of interest concerning the agriculture in the young generation circle, including the children. They tend to like the games than to play in the agricultural environment whereas these games can lower the level of creativity. In the other hand, there is not much introduction of agriculture to the children especially for the level of elementary.
Figure 4 Example of MIKIGA
The activity was carried out through Student Creativity Program – Social Service which titled Mikiga: Mini Kids Garden as the media for educative and creative playing through the concept of mini farming to increase the child’s interest toward farming. With Mikiga, the child started to know the education in truth such as various kinds of knowledge also the ways to socialize and play. In this phase, it could be stated that the activity was based on three basic aspects; knowledge, attitude, and skill for instance. The three aspects are the basic of education which is the most important. This is because the three aspects are the things which are the most authentic in life. Besides, the children are trained to develop their levels of creativity in making the cattle doll and the components of mini agriculture which are made from the use of environment waste. Then, they are given the knowledge about the way to plant, take care, and harvest the vegetable plants in the media. This is done in order the child has the agricultural spirit and the care for environment since early. Therefore, this socialization is expected to be able to increase the child’s love toward agriculture and apply it in the daily life.
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