Pak Ramin is a successful farmer who grows a variety of vegetable crops on his 1.5 hectare farm. Having relocated from Java to Kalimantan, he says that he now leads a more prosperous life than he did in his hometown. But, he had to struggle for decades just to get to this point.
Pilang is a traditional village in the Pulang Pisau regency of Central Kalimantan. Two-thirds of the regency is comprised of peatlands, and Pilang is no exception, with 20,994 hectares out of the total village land area of 28,114 hectares covered by shallow peat soils.
Uduh Abungai (76), one of the oldest members of the village, said he first planted 70 rubber trees on his 0.5 hectare plot in 1960. All of the tree seedlings came from Kalimantan. And like other residents, Pak Uduh continues to plant rubber seedlings every year. He says the new trees can be tapped for latex after seven years.
Having always wanted to grow a mini jelutung (Dyera costulata) plantation in his backyard, Pak Margo says it took him 18 years of trial and error, and a substantial part of his personal finances to learn how to do it properly. But now, at the age of 65, he has finally realized his dream.
Gambut Kita researchers find that most swift-houses can achieve routine production within the first two years, with nest production averaging 0.1 – 0.5 kg per month per swift-house; making it an attractive proposition for farmers who are prepared to take the gamble. But regular problems to anticipate include pests such as geckos and ants, as well as lightning strikes and thieves.
The journey towards becoming an entrepreneur in Kalimantan has been a bitter-sweet one for Yoanes Budiyana (43), an immigrant from Central Java. When Budi first came to Kalimantan he worked as a truck driver for a construction company. In his new environment, Budi struggled to earn enough income to stay afloat. He spent most of his time in his truck, driving long distances on difficult roads to deliver goods to far corners of the province. On one trip, he realized he had never seen a honey vendor by the side of the road, as was commonplace in Java.
Pakis, an edible fern that grows in peatlands and along riverbanks, is a daily source of nutritious meals in Central Kalimantan. In Tumbang Nusa village, people will travel downriver for about an hour just to collect the ferns – and to later serve a bowl of pakis in their kitchen.
Fishing is an activity that runs in the blood of people living along the Kahayan River in Central Kalimantan, and this is especially so in the peatlands to the south of Palangkaraya, the capital city of the province. Most of the people who live in the villages along these river banks usually fish to meet their daily needs, and many of them still catch fish using traditional fish traps.