My first Project in Agriculture started in 2003. I worked in a collaboration team between Bogor Agricultural University and a Private Bank to review feasibility study about Aloe vera. We examined feasibility of aloe vera plantation booming at that time, about the market, postharvest and processing, plantation and financial. Through this experience, I became aware that we should consider many aspect to establish agricultural system profitably to community and company as well. Every aspect are important and we have to have holistic overview to make agricultural business sustainable.
My project continue in 2004-2005 at Sragen, Central Java. We develop red pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) plantation, collaboration between Bogor Agricultural University and a big ketchup company. We collaborated with farmer community and Local Government as well. We explore many aspect i.e. organic and non-organic pesticide, new seed varieties, agronomic aspect, postharvest treatment and red pepper quality. Our goal are to produce stable quality of red pepper such as good color, spiciness, without pesticide residue, high yield and stable in price too. It is not an easy task, actually we can run the plantation fine and the hardest part is when the company have to decide schema of price to buy red pepper from farmer to get win-win solution, company receive a good quality of product and farmer obtained a good price.
Another project, I work with farmer community in 2009 at Nimbokrang Disctict, Jayapura Regency, Papua to develop soybean (Glycine max) and corn (Zea mays) plantation. the project held in this area because they have to import soybean and corn from another island or even from abroad to fulfill the demand, even though there are still wide are and Papua has potential to became a food sustainable area . We introduce new seed varieties and integrated crop management including postharvest treatment to maintain the bean and seed for the next planting season. We have some issue farmer still difficult to get sufficient input such as fertilizer, since Papua is the eastern part of Indonesia and far away from Java and Sulawesi. And it was not easy to keep the bean still in pure genetic until several Filial in order to maintain the productivity.
Cocoa plantation is my next project in 2010 at Jayapura, Papua. I work in team that try to solve the cocoa plantation problem in Papua. We want to rise the quality and yield, so we work in area agronomic such as fertilizing and pruning, pest and disease management, and my responsible are fermentation of cocoa bean to improve the quality. Cocoa from this area is quite good quality, but since there is no incentive to do fermentation, farmer just do the sun drying for their Cocoa bean. There is no price differences between fermented and non-fermented, since both have their own market. So it is still need an effort to increase the cocoa bean from Papua.
Paddy (Oryza sativa L.) are the main food for Indonesian people, in fact as a staple food, and I get the chance to learn something about it in 2011 at Merauke, Papua. We planted new seed varieties in dry and wet season at several district that have ecological diversity. New seed varieties showed differences response at different season and region. The main problem in this area are tungro, a disease that caused by Nephotettix spp. But if we plant rice at the right month, the plant will have a good performance. Although there were others problem such as postharvest handling, such as drying rice seed at harvest stage. When the rain are to intense and there are not enough sun, the drying is not too good, make the quality of rice seed decrease.
Papua have rich diversity in tuber crop such as sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.), it motivated me to run project about sweet potato processing in 2011 at Jayapura, Papua. Sweet potato are processed become flour, and as basic ingredient to make cookies or snack. So house hold have alternative consumption besides rice and at the same times could reduce using of wheat flour for make cookies. Sweet potato flour storage at household level could increase food security in this region.
My current project is how to distinguish between new rice seed varieties using image process technology with my colleague in BB Padi start from 2012 until now. When I visit BB Padi in Subang, they have already more than 30 varieties for Inpari (not including Inpara and old varieties). and it become problems when they have to make certification of rice seed. It is hard to determine whether the seeds are the same variety, or the differences because of environment. And what about if some irresponsible person blend the seed varieties, could we recognize that? The project still on going. For preliminary result, we can distinguish between variety with different morphology using image process technology, but the seed with almost the same morphology the accuracy below 70%. We will try another technology such as near infrared for further work and we still try to get funding for this project.
At the same time 2012 until now, I run coffee project for my dissertation. It is not an easy task to do two project in the same time, but I hope I can handle it. The theme is almost the same, how to determine quality in coffee. The project consist of several task. First past is done, to do literature review and water content modelling of green coffee bean using near infrared (NIR). The further work is how to determine quality and species in green coffee bean.