Christian Church of Sumba (GKS) as a church has the largest number of members in Sumba, and they have developed various forms of ministry for their members and society as a whole. The Synod of GKS has been developing and implementing agricultural projects as part of their holistic ministry for many years. Sumba is a unique district in Indonesia because it is a dry region with minimal levels of rainfall. These circumstances have led to rising food insecurity. In 2015, GKS built an agricultural training center in the city of Lewa. The center has been training families on conservation and climate-resilient techniques.
The agricultural training project trained over 200 individuals, male and female. Each student receives farming equipment, plant starts, and seeds to take home. The course is 40 days long and offered twice a year. Upon completion of the training, each individual builds a demonstration plot of farming land in his or her home community to share what they have learned and to help increase the amount of produce grown in their community.
On the property, the agricultural training center has focused their attention on rice, vegetable, and fruit cultivation. The courses include lessons on cultivation, post-harvest storage, fertilizers, and pesticides. The center has plans, beginning in 2020, to develop courses on animal husbandry, aquaculture farming, and additional methods of sustainable agriculture.
Sumba is distant from Indonesia’s central government. Access to economic opportunities, access to clean water, education, and malnutrition are among some of the more pressing challenges for the island. Many leave Sumba to seek work in Bali or Malaysia. The agricultural training program seeks to train families from the region to provide nutritious foods for their diets and to generate an income from surplus produce.
In addition to the training program, it was shared with Global Ministries recently that the tube well, used to irrigate the center’s fields, is drying slowly as the water table lowers. The tube well uses a pump to lift water from the water table and pumps water into a temporary reservoir. The Christian Church in Sumba has identified another source for water, and they are requesting resources to begin drilling and using a second well for irrigating the agricultural land used to train farmers in Indonesia. Global Ministries welcomes gifts to support the training program and the purchase and installation of a new water pump.