The NusaTani project will focus on increasing income and decreasing malnutrition, reaching 19,202 people in Laboya Barat, Sumba and Parado, Sumbawa in Indonesia.

Both areas have extremely high rates of poverty and stunting. To combat this, SurfAid will implement activities to strengthen agricultural production, stimulate income generation, promote healthcare practices, and gender equity.

Stunting is one of the most extreme indicators of malnutrition, resulting from long-term nutritional deprivation. Poverty and stunting in Sumba and Sumbawa are driven and exacerbated by low agricultural productivity that is further impacted by an eight-month dry season. Additionally, a lack of reliable access to clean water, education on agriculture and nutrition practices, and basic commerce contribute to an endless cycle of stunting and malnutrition.

Photo by Hanuma Atika

SurfAid will use a Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture approach (NSA) which aims to address the underlying determinants of malnutrition by focusing on agriculture and behaviour change. SurfAid practises an “accompaniment” approach to development which consists of SurfAid staff living and working alongside community members for the duration of the project. This ensures the training methodology is continuously addressed through direct coaching and mentorship.

Five demonstration farms will serve as training grounds for communities where new technologies and techniques such as inter-cropping, multi-cropping, and drip irrigation will be introduced.

Farmer groups will be trained on running their farms as a business, paired with training on household budgeting. To link agricultural production to improved nutrition and well-being outcomes, additional focus will be on parenting techniques including nutrition, female empowerment and a woman’s impact on family income, individual caring capacity and female energy expenditure.

Agriculture is the main source of food and income in Bima and Sumba Barat, where approximately 90% of the population are farmers. The potential for agriculture development and food systems to improve nutrition is well recognised—most importantly through providing access to diverse, nutritious diets. In general, agricultural growth is more pro-poor and is associated with greater reductions in stunting than non-agricultural growth.

Poverty rates for both target areas are significantly higher than the national level (10.86%).  Bima District’s official poverty rate is 15.33%  and as high as 69% for remote villages like Lere in Parado sub-district.  A further 40% of Parado’s population is ‘near-poor’ and extremely vulnerable to shocks.   The poverty rate for Sumba Barat District is 29.34%, and 63% for Laboya Barat sub-district.  A further 20% of the population are ‘near-poor’ and extremely vulnerable to shocks. This poverty and vulnerability to shocks cause a negative cycle where poor farmers are less able, and less willing to invest in agriculture or income-generating activities, due to the perceived risk exposure of doing so.

This results in fewer food crops available for consumption (contributing to poor diet, poor health and malnutrition); and also fewer cash crops available for sale, contributing to low income, which also reduces economic access to food (exacerbating poor diet, poor health and malnutrition).

We will start with a baseline survey to collect valid preliminary data so we can measure the progress through various formal mechanisms, such as an annual report, midterm report up to the final report of the program.

Respondent in Bima filling out the food recall tools. Photo by Hanuma Atika

During the Inception Workshop, the local government expressed that they’re very enthusiastic that SurfAid is coming back with a new program, and that they plan to support it through the Village Funds to join forces in Nusatani.