Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Return to Semarang and Presentation to the Client

In the afternoon of the day that we came back to Semarang, we travelled to Salatiga to visit a furniture factory called Mulyo. While we were there, we learned a lot about the agro-forestry and wood production industry in Indonesia.

The next day we decided to walk around Semarang and visit some of the more well-known sights that the city offers. Our first destination was Lawang Sewu, which in Indonesian means "A Thousand Doors". It was built during Dutch colonial rule and now serves as a popular tourist destination.

On our way to the Semarang's old city, we took a wrong turn and walked in the opposite direction, which brought us to an old Catholic cathedral.

Then we walked around Semarang looking for dinner. We wound up in Semarang's China Town, where we saw several Chinese temples. And we also ended up having a delicious dinner at one of the Chinese restaurants there.

During the four last days that we stayed in Semarang, we compiled our research and notes from our interviews to create an PowerPoint presentation for Jabon Kendal's founder Pak Arda.

Kendal (Day 3)

On our third day we interviewed Pak Arda, the founder and managing director of Jabon Kendal. We learned more about the company's desire to expand and diversify its product portfolio. Pak Arda especially emphasised his desire to enter the goat business, since this would allow him to produce  'circular economy' synergies. With this he would be able to use the excess weeds from their tree nursery to provide as fodder to feed the goats, and in turn goats would produce manure, which can be used as fertilizer for tree production.

Pak Arda (on the left)
Then we went to another village Tlogopayung where more lands are used there for planting Jabon. The team hiked up the mountain and the head of the village showed us how Jabon tree grows back after harvest.

In the evening we came to Pak Darusman's house for the last time to thank him and his family for the generosity and hospitality during our stay in Sukurejo.

Kendal (Day 2)

We started our second day by visiting a local elementary school in Sukorejo. We gave a brief presentation about our individual countries, before mingling with students and taking lunch with the teachers.

Not very many foreigners visit this village, so our visit created a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for the children.

Afterwards, we left the schools and headed to a neighbouring village called Wonodadi. There we toured one of the Jabon Kendal sites, where they were planting Jabon trees. We were able to see how they were able to combat soil erosion by planting the trees on the critical, unused land.

On our way back to Sukorejo, we stumbled upon a performance of "Kuda Lumping", a traditional Javanese trance dance, where a group of dancers is dressed in beautiful motley costumes. The dance was accompanied by traditional Gamelan music.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Departure to Kendal (the Mountain Pass)

On our second day in Indonesia, the team departed for Sukorejo. Sukorejo is a village in the Kendal regency, and is the main site of Kendal Jabon.

We were greeted by Pak Darusman, Ibu Darusman, and Pak Nurwanto with a table full of snacks and drinks.

The Jabon Kendal company is based out of Pak Ardha and Ibu Darusman's house. Pak Ardha and Ibu Darusman's son, Pak Ardha, spearheaded the effort to sell Jabon Kendal trees and founded the Jabon Kendal company. Pak Nurwanto is the manager of plant production at Jabon Kendal.

                                        Pak Narwanto showing us different types of trees the Jabon Kendal produces

After our snack, Pak Nurwanto took us on a tour of the Jabon Kendal site. He showed us where the tree saplings are grown, and where the saplings are stored once they are ready to be sold. 

Jabon Kendal workers adding fertilizer to saplings

That afternoon, a shipment of saplings was due for West Java, and so we pitched in a hand to load the truck as well.

Jabon Kendal workers loading the truck with a shipment set for West Java

Finished loading the shipment!

A Day Trip to Solo (Surakarta)

The team spent the first day getting acquainted with Indonesia by taking a day trip to Solo (also called Surakata). Solo is one of the two historical capitals of the Mataram Kingdom. We started our day in Solo with a tour of the Kraton Palace.

Royal Garden of the Kraton Palace

Portraits of the Pakubuwono Kings

Pakubuwono royal carriage
Afterwards, we took lunch at the Museum Batik before taking a tour of the museum.

Mie Goreng (fried noodles) at the Museum Batik
The Museum Batik is home to one of the largest batik collections in the world. Batik is a traditional Javanese method of wax-resistant dyeing of cloth. In 2009, UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Unfortunately, we were unable to take photos while inside the museum: but, we can vouch that it was a stunning collection, and all the more reason to visit Solo.

Antique Market
After our tour of the Museum Batik, we took a stroll around the Pasar Triwindi Jala antique market. There, we indulged in some souvenir shopping. We successfully haggled a good deal on bracelets before returning to our hotel in Semarang.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Team arrives in Semarang, Indonesia

The Indonesian adventure begins!

Today, all the team members arrived in Semarang, Indonesia. The team members all took different routes to arrive here: Roman and Angelika came through Tokyo, Diana came through Bali, and Xinze came through Malaysia.

Upon arriving in Semarang, the team enjoyed a meal of milk fish, a specialty of the region. Afterwards, the team enjoyed drinks and snacks at the hotel while they discussed their plans for the upcoming meetings in Indonesia.

Welcome to the blog of the Cornell University 2015 SMART Program project in Indonesia!

The Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Teams Program (SMART), a program of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development (CIIFAD), brings together students from across Cornell's many disciplines to work with businesses, SMEs, NGOs, and other organizations in emerging market countries around the world.  The students who take part in the projects are chosen from a very selective pool of applicants based on their particular skills and interests.

The SMART team will work with the Jabon Kendal company. The team will have the chance to work with the company's management team in helping them expand their business, as well as tour the Jabon tree plantations and nurseries.

Upon the SMART team's return to Ithaca in late January the student's will finalize a case study of their work that can be published and used for academic purposes both at Cornell University and other universities around the world.