USU Lecturer Encourages Production Langkat Coffee Farmers

DetailsThursday, 09 February 2023
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""PKM - Pekan Kreativitas Mahasiswa ( Student Creativity Week) activities are carried out from April to November 2022, starting from surveys, identifying problems, conducting discussions with the Perteguhan Farmers Group, to PKM activities being carried out. The strong motivation of the partners to produce superior local Arabica coffee harvest is one of the main focuses in carrying out PKM activities in Perteguhan Village, Telagah. This community empowerment process is carried out to develop the community's ability to overcome problems that arise and determine decisions independently, also providing access to resources and the environment, as well as freedom of responsibility," said Ameilia Zuliyanti."

Who doesn't know coffee? The drink, with its characteristic of being bitter yet easy to mix with other liquid variants, is so famous that around 2.75 billion cups are consumed every day around the world. Its presence has inspired various works of art created by humans, especially literature. A cup of coffee perfectly complements bitter days, happy days, or just any regular day. As poet Joko Pinurbo said in one of his poems, "Less or more, every sustenance needs to be celebrated with a cup of coffee."

Coffee is a caffeinated commodity with a bitter flavour, which is beneficial for reducing fatigue and increasing alertness. This coffee bean extract-based drink has historical factors, cultural traditions, social and economic interests. It can be consumed as a beverage or as part of a food mix.

Coffee plants (Coffea spp) began to be consumed in the 16th century. More than 120 coffee species have been identified to date, and there are three commercially cultivated coffee species, namely Coffea Arabica, Coffea Canephora, and Coffea Liberica. Coffea Canephora is popularly known as Robusta coffee. More than 70% of the world's coffee production is dominated by Arabica coffee, while Robusta is only about 28%. The rest is the production of other types of coffee, such as Liberica, Excelsa, and others. We are familiar with some of the largest coffee-producing countries where the majority of production is Arabica, which are Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia. At the same time, the biggest and best Robusta coffee-producing countries are Vietnam and Indonesia.

Coffee plantations are one of the sectors that can provide job opportunities for around 2 million coffee farmers in Indonesia. One of the areas in North Sumatra that has a coffee plantation area is Langkat Regency. Langkat Regency consists of 23 regency areas, 240 villages, and 37 districts. The district with the largest area is District Batang Serangan (93,490 ha), while District Binjai (4,955 ha) is the narrowest. The districts with the most villages are District Bahorok and District Tanjung Pura (19 villages/sub-districts), while the districts with the least villages/sub-districts are District Sawit Seberang, West Brandan and Binjai (7 villages/sub-districts).

Coffee plants are suitable for growing at an altitude of 500-700 m above sea level, with rainfall of around 1500 - 2500 mm per year, with an average dry month of 1-3 months and an average temperature of 15-2℃ with land class S1 (Highly Suitable) or S2 (Moderately Suitable), which you can get in Telagah Village, Langkat. Coffee plants can be multiplied by vegetative methods using parts of the plant or in generative forms using seeds. Generative propagation is more commonly used because it is easy to implement and shorter to produce ready-to-plant seedlings compared to vegetative seedling propagation (clonal).

However, from the results of the identification of farmers in one of the villages in Langkat Regency, it appears that there is limited knowledge from the farmers about the cultivation and Integrated Pest and Disease Control of coffee plants. This limitation certainly hinders the production and harvest of coffee. Examples found in the field, among others, include not applying fertilisers regularly, infrequent tree pruning, excessive use of chemical fertilisers, less than optimal production, post-harvest activities carried out manually, and the remaining coffee skins piled up on the site without being processed, resulting in several further obstacles.

The problem is due to the fact that coffee land management is still very traditional, as well as the absence of assistance in the use of tools for roasting coffee cherries that meet the standards and the very low price of coffee.

Based on this, through the Service program by Lecturers organised by the Institute for Community Service (LPPM) of Universitas Sumatera Utara, Faculty of Agriculture lecturer Ameilia Zuliyanti Siregar, S.Si, M.Sc, Ph.D, along with Prof. Dr. Tulus, Vor Dipl. Math, M.Si, Ph.D and Prof. Dr. Ir. Elisa Julianti, M.Si, conducted community service in Perteguhan, Telagah Village, Sei Bingai District, Langkat Regency. This activity also collaborates with the Head of Telagah Village, Ibrahim Barus and the Perteguhan Coffee Farmer Group, with the Head of the Farmer Group Dermawan STD.

"PKM - Pekan Kreativitas Mahasiswa (Student Creativity Week) activities are carried out from April to November 2022, starting from surveys, identifying problems, conducting discussions with the Perteguhan Farmers Group, to PKM activities being carried out. The strong motivation of the partners to produce superior local Arabica coffee harvest is one of the main focuses in carrying out PKM activities in Perteguhan Village, Telagah. This community empowerment process is carried out to develop the community's ability to overcome problems that arise and determine decisions independently, also providing access to resources and the environment, as well as freedom of responsibility," said Ameilia Zuliyanti.

The method of Corporate Farming (CF) with the Integrated Agribusiness Business Group (KUAT) Programme was implemented to overcome problems at the coffee farmer level. The CF model empowers farmers through groups by conducting social, economic, technological and value-added engineering. Social engineering can be done by strengthening farmer institutions, counselling, and human resource development. Meanwhile, financial engineering is done by developing access to capital to procure inputs and market access. Technological engineering is done by achieving technical agreements adapted to coffee farmers' habits. Finally, value engineering is done by developing vertically and horizontally coordinated off-farm businesses.

This community service programme's activities include land preparation, preparation of materials and tools, seeding superior quality coffee, productive fertiliser tool design, making Yellow Sticky Trap traps, vegetable pesticides, application, observation of coffee fields, and pest inventory. While the later stages are communicating and assisting farmers in integrated pest management, checking data on detected insects and pests, monitoring Integrated Pest and Disease Control control and socialising the use of unmanaged coffee waste in Telagah Village.

The working procedure of PKM activities starts from the land preparation stage, followed by the preparation of materials and tools for coffee cultivation, superior quality coffee nurseries, productive fertiliser tool design, YST trap making, PAKAR KOPI application, coffee field observation, branch pruning and pest inventory. Farmers are advised to choose types and varieties according to the place and location of the land; above 800m above sea level, Arabica coffee should be planted, while in the lowlands, Liberka or Excelsa coffee should be planted. The seeds prepared are from superior quality coffee, such as Ateng Arabica, Sipirok Arabica, along with Mandailing Arabica, varieties S 795, USDA 762, Kartika-1, and Kartika-2. Robusta clones are recommended to use clones BP 42 or BP 358. Furthermore, shade plants are planted for coffee from lamtoro, dadap, sengon, avocado, or citrus.

"Farmers are also advised to set the recommended planting distance for coffee cultivation; 2.75m x 2.75m for Robusta and 2.5m x 2.5m for Arabica coffee. The planting distance is varied with the height of the land. In which the higher the land, the sparser the planting distance; the lower, the tighter the planting distance. Furthermore, 3-6 months before coffee planting, planting holes should be made with a size of 60x60x60 cm. Fertilisation must be done in a balanced manner, where cover crops such as Mucuna Munanease (Bunguk) and Arachis Pintol (beans) are also planted," Ameilia added further.

According to her, the PKM activity carried out by the USU lecturer team is one of the efforts, among others, to support the University Performance Indicator (IKU) II by involving students to gain experience outside the campus, engaged in the service process with tasks adjusted to the course credit load in the curriculum that will be recognised. IKU III lecturers are included as BKD lecturers in the current year in the form of community service in the village, the application of the Tri Dharma of Higher Education. Furthermore, the work of lecturers that the community can use is categorised in KPI V. This PKM is a transfer of knowledge in appropriate coffee management, fostering village millennial entrepreneurship, and changes in the administration of educational tourism management that bring benefits to coffee farmers, tourism managers, communities, and village governments.

Students involved in PKM will get recognition for six credits from the 7th semester, which is Course of Field Work Practice (PKL), with the learning outcomes being: students are able to analyse general situations and identify problems in the fields of agriculture, food, health and tourism. Furthermore, they can determine priority problems, assist the community in problem intervention, and compile PKM activity reports. PKM activities are aligned and support the achievements of PKL courses.

The synergy of functions and roles between academics, farmers, communities, related parties and the community actively and interactively in learning, introducing science and science and technology, and sharing experiences and motivation, is expected to foster a creative economy that will improve people's lives. In addition, motivation, educational training and mentoring are needed to improve the quality of coffee products processed into a source of trendy drinks and appropriate food. Coffee farmers and food management partners must be able to provide superior coffee seeds, Integrated Pest and Disease Control and manage post-harvest coffee to produce high-quality coffee production.

This community service was welcomed by the community in Perteguhan, Telagah Village, Sei Bingai District, Langkat Regency. Through this activity, it is expected that the problems that affect the quantity and quality of coffee plants, which consist of the lack of partners' knowledge in controlling pests and plant diseases, can be identified. The knowledge of farmer partners in controlling pests and plant diseases physically (using nets) and chemically (vegetable pesticides) in dealing with coffee plant pests has increased. In addition, unused coffee waste has also been processed and utilised by the Farmer Group manager in Telagah Village.

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