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Adoption processes to enhance uptake of forage tree legumes in Indonesia


The SRA project reported here was conducted in 2014-16 in conjunction with a larger ACIAR funded project ‘Improving smallholder cattle fattening systems based on forage tree legume diets in eastern Indonesia and northern Australia’ (LPS/2008/054) and following up on LPS/2010/036 (Support for development of effective TAKE approaches in forage tree legumes research). The objectives if this SRA were to (1) analyse the effectiveness of the scale out processes leading towards farmer uptake of FTL feeding systems, (2) analyse the effectiveness of the communications strategy and media that were tested to support the scale out processes, (3) make recommendations for future scale out of FTL systems in eastern Indonesia, and (4) improve capacity among FTL Project partners to design, implement and monitor scale out of FTL feeding systems.

The analysis of the main FTL Project showed that it had been very effective in demonstrating the potential of Leucaena and Sesbania as high quality feed in smallholder cattle fattening in Lombok and Sumbawa (West Nusa Tenggara province – NTB) and in West Timor (East Nusa Tenggara province – NTT). The technology suited the needs and conditions of many farming groups and families that participated in the project and the team on the ground worked with farmers to adapt and implement these systems effectively. Awareness and motivation was particularly raised through exchange visits to already successful implementers of FTL-based systems. The Field Researchers who were based at the project sites guided farmers on a daily bases to incorporate the new practices into their farming systems. The capacity and commitment of the research teams were key to the success of the FTL project. Substantial numbers of farmers were reached directly and indirectly.

The SRA project intended to support the FTL Project by designing and piloting an outreach strategy that would put a system and core capacity in place for FRL-based cattle production to further scale out beyond the project in the provinces targeted by the FTL Project. Based on the barriers to adoption that had been identified at the start of the FTL project, the outreach strategy included several components: (1) raising of awareness and motivation of farmers, (2) adaptive trials and demonstration, (3) capacity building in the form of training of facilitators and farmers, (4) facilitating access to inputs and services, (5) support to Farmer Group establishment and functioning, and (6) establishing and fostering inter-institutional relationships. Supporting media in the form of a training manual, promotional and educational videos and an informative calendar were produced and distributed to facilitators and farmers. These were reported to be effective in providing information and triggers for dialogue.

While components 1 and 2 of the outreach strategy were effectively incorporated in the implementation of the main FTL project, with particularly (Field) Researchers mobilising and training local farmer groups and collecting data on performance of the various systems, the other components appeared to be more difficult to implement within the context of a pilot-roll out that had a limited timeline and specific objectives to achieve. Training of trainers (government extension and technical officers and some farmer facilitators) was conducted, but only one (NTB) or two (NTT) of the four rounds that had been planned due to funding constraints. As such, the potential of this pool of promotors of the innovation was not fully reached. Similarly, the majority of trained facilitators could not fully implement what they had learned at the training within their constituencies, as they did not receive financial support from their institutions to conduct intensive fieldwork. 

In terms of institutionalisation, an informal FTL seed system began to emerge during the FTL Project period, which seemed suitable to provide a substantial proportion of seed required for future expansion. However, coordination at provincial level, if not across provinces, is needed to maintain appropriate levels of both quality and quantity of seed produced and distributed. No formalised follow-up programs were established by local governments, but efforts were made particularly by the Sumbawa government to further support expansion of FTL-based cattle production. A continued effort by the Indonesian research team is needed to encourage the governments in the other target areas to do the same.

Based on the above conclusions, it is recommended that:

  • continued support be provided to further capacity building of FTL facilitators in the target areas;
  • more adaptive research be conducted to fine-tune the FTL-based systems to more diverse environments and socio-economic conditions; and 
  • government departments in the target areas be supported to develop policies that favour continued and expanded implementation of FTL-based systems.