Intercrops – Corn: Save the Smallholders in SRP

Intercrops – Corn: Save the Smallholders in SRP

InfoSAWIT, SIMALUNGUN – In 2019, Marihot Butarbutar (59) and other independent smallholders in Sub district of Hatonduan, District of Simalungun, North Sumatera Province joined smallholders replanting program (SRP). They have had a dream when joining SRP – their fresh fruit bunch (FFB) price would get better.

He cannot harvest their FFB for it is in ‘seeds’ still. Butarbutar and his fellows never thought that it gets cheaper and cheaper.

“Before FFB price raised, we did plant intercrops in our plantations. My fellows and I planted corn since the first planting,” the member of Sawitku Masa Depanku (SAMADE) in District of Simalungun told to InfoSAWIT, Monday (4/7/2022) noon. When their plantations cannot deliver profits for now, he and his friends harvested corn in every four months in the past few years.

“But the corn is cheap now. If the dry one is at Rp 4.000 per kilogram, the wet corn is only atbou Rp 3.000 to Rp 3.500 per kilogram," Butarbutar said. If they who joined SRP have about four hectares, in the intercrops 0 corn, the smallholders in Hatonduan can get about Rp 20 million. If the numbers are minus, such as, fertilizers, seed purchase, worker salary, and others, Butarbutar told, he got profits about Rp 10 million.

“But now we got only about Rp 5 million. Besides the expensive fertilizers, the corn is cheap to sell. May be, the in the four months to go, corn would be more expensive,” he said.

He continued they can nurse their palm oil plantations with the intercrops – corn. The fertilizers applied to the corn can be useful for palm oil. “Once we apply fertilizers, two commodities got nursed. Though corn is cheap now, but thanks God, we still can nurse our palm oil,” Butarbutar told. (T5)