El Nino Will Occur in the Second Semester of 2023, Here’s What Indonesian Coffee Farmers Need to Prepare for

JAKARTA, 05 JUNI 2023 – The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) predicts that the El Nino phenomenon will occur in Indonesia in the second semester of 2023 and may last until early 2024. El Nino causes a decrease in rainfall so that the dry season will be longer. This in general can have a direct effect on reducing the productivity of coffee commodities and requires some mitigation efforts that need to be done by farmers to reduce the adverse effects.

During the El Nino period, Indonesia will experience unusual weather conditions, such as higher than average temperatures, irregular rainfall, and drought in some areas. From its historical data, BMKG predicts that this year’s El Nino will occur at a low to moderate level.

BMKG also said that rainfall in August to October 2023 is predicted to be in the below normal category, especially in Sumatra, Java to NTT, parts of Kalimantan, and parts of Sulawesi. This was conveyed by a BMKG Climate Change Information Center Researcher at the National Coffee Commodity Climate School: Impact and Mitigation of El Nino Phenomenon, Monday (5/6), organized by PMO Kopi Nusantara of the Ministry of SOEs in collaboration with BKMG, Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Center (Puslitkoka), Perum Perhutani, and SCOPI.

Then what mitigation efforts should be made by coffee farmers to reduce the adverse effects of this El Nino phenomenon? The following are nine recommendations from Puslitkoka, a research center under PTPN Group that has been the mecca of Indonesian coffee development since 1911.

1. Watering in areas where possible
Watering coffee plants in some areas of the garden where it is possible to do so, will be a practical solution that can be done by farmers during the decline in rainfall in Indonesia due to El Nino.

2. Shade maintenance and addition of shade plants
Do not prune shade trees at the end of the rainy season and increase the number of shade trees in areas that still receive rain. One of the functions of shade plants is to withstand the high intensity of sunlight. The shade plants will keep the coffee plants from being exposed to continuous sunlight due to the long drought. Avoid pruning shade plants ahead of El Nino.

3. Weed control ahead of the dry season
In addition to providing additional nutrients for coffee plants after the weeds have decayed, weed removal will reduce the evapotranspiration rate from the coffee plantation so that the available groundwater can be optimally used by coffee plants. During the dry season, groundwater consumption needs to be focused on the cultivated plants.

4. Application of organic fertilizer
Organic matter from organic fertilizers can help retain soil moisture by forming more stable soil aggregates as well as add nutrients to the coffee tree crop. This will indirectly help reduce water evaporation from the soil during the dry season.

5. Apply more nitrogen fertilizer at the end of the rainy season
Nitrogen will increase the resistance of coffee plants to drought. Applying an extra 25% more nitrogen fertilizer than the annual dose is recommended now at the end of the rainy season to prepare for the impact of El Niño.

6. More optimized mulch application
Farmers are also advised to optimize the application of mulch (5-15 cm thick) with all available organic mulch materials such as litter, straw, and other materials to slow down the process of soil water evaporation.

7. Manual control of coffee berry borer pests
Manual control of coffee berry borer pests such as powder picking carried out near the beginning of harvest and lelesan by picking up all coffee berries remaining on the tree or falling to the ground at the end of the harvest season needs to be done to reduce attacks in the next harvest season.

8. Implementation of agroforestry and polyculture (multiple cropping) cultivation patterns
Agroforestry as implemented by Perum Perhutani in various regions has many benefits. In addition to providing shade, forest plants can also maintain groundwater supplies needed by cultivated plants. The impact of El Nino will not be felt much by farmers in agroforestry areas.

9. Use of drought-tolerant improved coffee varieties
In the long term, the use of superior and drought-tolerant coffee plant varieties needs to be carried out by coffee farmers in Indonesia for the purposes of area expansion/new plantings and replanting.

Vice Chairman of PMO Kopi Nusantara, Reynaldi Istanto, in his remarks when opening the National Coffee Commodity Climate School event hoped that the participants present could participate in disseminating the nine recommendations for El Nino mitigation efforts above to the coffee farming community throughout Indonesia. “We need to maintain the productivity of coffee plants despite El Nino, because usually productivity is directly proportional to the welfare of farmers,” concluded the Expert of the Minister of SOEs for Global Value Chains.

The recording of the National Coffee Commodity Climate School can be found on the Sustainable Coffee Platform of Indonesia (SCOPI) Youtube channel or at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrJqIY56PGg