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Mount Merapi replanting movement launched YOGYAKARTA - People living on the slopes of Mount Merapi are being encouraged to replant as part of a government campaign to restore land badly damaged by recent eruptions. The campaign officially kicked off on Tuesday with Agriculture Minister Suswono planting banana trees in Batur village, Sleman, in Yogyakarta.

"People should plant fruit trees like banana trees. They can consume the fruit themselves or sell them as a source of income," Suswono said. Suswono said banana trees were selected for replanting because they are capable of surviving in areas covered with volcanic ash. "They can also help speed up the recovery of damaged fields."

During the campaign launch, Suswono also provided various types of banana tree seedlings, including Raja Bulu, Ambon and Pisang Mas Kirana, to be planted on 25 hectares of land on Merapi's slopes. He also provided 8 tons of organic fertilizer to be used for vegetable plantations.

According to Suswono, banana trees are a good economic prospect because Indonesia still imports bananas to meet domestic needs. The ministry is reportedly doing research on Merapi's soil, which could provide guidance to farmers who want to start planting crops.

Sleman Regent Sri Purnomo said he hoped in the future banana would become a new economic source for people in the region. "If managed well, banana can become a special product of Merapi and a source of income for the people," he said.

Meanwhile, people whose villages were severely damaged by the eruptions were observed planting a variety of things, including mahogany and cassava, in their fields and the former yards of their homes. "Our village is uninhabitable now. The only thing we can do is turn it into a forest by planting trees," Kimin of Petung village, Kepuharjo, said.

Hundreds of farmers in Dukun district, Magelang, have started cleaning up volcanic dust from their fields so they can begin planting vegetables . "The ash is hardening and is very tough to remove. Unless we clean it up, it will be very difficult for us to plant," Sutris of Babadan II village, Paten subdistrict, said.

Gito, a farmer from Trono, Dukun district, said Merapi's eruptions did not just displace people, but also severely damaged crops. He expressed the hope that the government would provide farmers with seedlings so they could begin their economic recovery. "We have nothing left. Even to feed our families we depend on others to help. We really hope to receive free seedlings and expect to start earning from them in four months," Gito said.

The pyroclastic ash from Merapi's eruptions, which killed more than 300 people, damaged thousands of hectares of land and is estimated to have caused Rp 5 trillion (US$555 million) in losses. The 12 rivers that originate at Merapi still have volcanic material clogging their streams. People living on the banks of rivers are not completely free from danger, as floods could occur at anytime, especially when it rains.


Link to related event Related event:
Eruptive Mount Merapi

Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes') Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes'):
07 December 2010 · Borobudur temple to be reopened later this month
03 December 2010 · Mount Merapi alert status lowered to level 3
30 November 2010 · Mount Merapi's mudflow forces hundreds to escape
30 November 2010 · Merapi survivors offered transmigration

Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes') Tags: Mount Merapi, eruption, replanting, movement


Posted in Volcanoes @ 26 December 2010 04:00 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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