By giving advice about and coordination over local agriculture Masarang is supporting over 10,000 smallholder farmers in Northern Sulawesi. The GIS-Mapalus project plays a large role in this:
With a GIS system (Geographical Information System) students collect a network of measurements. This creates a topographical image of soil types and climate that is displayed in a 3 dimensional satellite map. Then information from farmers about yields and problems in their farms is collected and entered into the GIS database. The information in the GIS database combined with scientific insights allows us to determine models of optimal cultivation: which crops, when and where.
The second part of this project concerns the Mapalus, which stands for ‘ doing together ‘. Traditionally farmers cultivate the land in the Minahasa region together. This method ensures shared responsibility, solidarity and higher yields. The GIS Mapalus project intentionally corresponds to these local values.
Farmers can become members of this project, where Masarang coordinates planting of crops. On the basis of the GIS database Masarang determines which farmer will grow which crop. By coordinating the production of all farmers a diverse range of crops is grown, yields increase and less pesticides and synthetic fertilizer is used.
Community spirit and collaboration amongst the smallholders is strengthened and the project leads to a more sustainable cultivation and an improvement in soil quality.