Maize farmers in East Nusa Tenggara have been slow to adopt new cultivation technologies despite several initiatives by the Indonesian government. A key challenge for farmers is access to the required inputs—improved varieties, fertilizer and pesticides. This research aimed to identify a suitable agribusiness model for subsistence/semi-commercial maize farmers to help address their challenges in using new technologies. Research was conducted with three farmer groups in South Timor Tengah district in 2007-2008. Innovations tested were both technological (improved varieties, plant spacing, fertilizer and seed production techniques) and institutional (strengthening farmer group capital, management of input supply and seed production). The initiative involved establishing a village-level technology clinic managed by extension workers and farmer groups, which proved useful in providing agricultural information to farmers and facilitating input supply from the district/provincial level. Farmers can take inputs on credit and repay them in kind after harvest. The clinic also processes maize, sells it in the early rainy season and helps build a village maize seed unit. This strategy shows promise in ensuring the continuity of maize farming and has potential to be extended to other villages.
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Murdolelono B. and Da Silva H.
In 'Maize for Asia: emerging trends and technologies. Proceeding of the 10th Asian Regional Maize Workshop, Makassar, Indonesia, 20-23 October 2008', ed. by P.H. Zaidi, M. Azrai and K.V. Pixley. CIMMYT