Jayapura, Jubi – Head of the Papua Agriculture and Food Agency Semuel Siriwa encourages the people of Lanny Jaya Regency to change the cycle of planting and harvesting sweet potatoes. This is to reduce the risk of damage to food crops due to extreme weather such as hail, Siriwa said in Jayapura on Thursday, August 4, 2022.
According to Siriwa, changing the cropping cycle is one of the mitigation efforts against extreme weather that causes frost, as is currently happening in Kuyawage, Lauren, and Jugu Nomba villages.
Studies said extreme cold weather resulted in frost in Lanny Jaya occurring at a certain period and could be overcome by cultivating sweet potatoes.
If hail continues to occur in July and August 2022, the planting time can be brought forward so that the crops can be harvested earlier. “Local people are already very smart and knowledgeable about how to cultivate sweet potatoes. But they may lack anticipation to prepare the availability of these commodities in the face of frost,” he said.
Siriwa said the local community also had a better understanding of how to store sweet potatoes in the ground so that they could be harvested in stages. However, said Siriwa, the Indonesian Government’s rice program and cheap rice had indirectly changed people’s consumption patterns.
“Therefore, the government must continue to preserve local food. If asked, can Papuan live without the supply from outside Papua? Absolutely,” he concluded.
At the end of last July, the Head of the Kuyawage District, Melkias Telenggen, confirmed that many gardens in the Kuyawage District were damaged due to hail. Telenggen said the hail had dried the people’s gardens up and peeled off the cattle’s skin.
“It’s true, hail has occurred resulting in the loss of material. All villages in the Kuyawage District are experiencing hail, which dries up the gardens,” Telenggen said when contacted by Jubi via phone call on Saturday, July 23, 2022.
He said that the rain in the form of balls or ice flakes did not cause casualties or injuries. However, as the garden dries up, the residents of Kuyawage District experience difficulty finding food. (*)