Titik Kastiah, Female Piondo Peasant Awarded Female Food Hero 2018

Ridwan Akbar Tanjung

Mataram (kpa.or.id) - Titik Kastiah, a female peasant from one of the KPA member organization was granted the award of Female Food Hero (Perempuan Pejuang Pangan) of 2018. She received that award on Thursday, (20/12) in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara.

Female Food Hero is the annual award ceremony initiated by Oxfam in Indonesia cooperating with The Indonesian Ministry of Social Services. This award is given to all women whom are considered possessing huge dedication and contribution in developing and defending local agricultural and food system. Other than that, this award is expected to become an inspiration to all women in various regions of Indonesia.

The struggle and commitment of Titik Kastiah in fighting for food sovereignty in Piondo Village, Toili Sub-district, Banggai Regency of Central Sulawesi are of its own value dubbing her as one of the award recipient this year.

Along with SPP, Titik established the production cooperative named Piondo Women’s Hope Cooperative. She was also chosen as the secretary of this cooperative.

Other than actively involving in the organization and Piondo Peasants Cooperative, this mother of two children also working as an honorary teacher in one of the Kindergarten in Piondo Village. Titik’s struggle alongside the Piondo Peasants began in 1990 when PT. Kurnia Luwuk Sejati (KLS) arrived to rob the agricultural lands belonging to the peasants.

These are the cases of Titik’s struggle alongside other peasants. In 2002, Piondo peasants have taken over their lands from the corporations. However, this wasn’t permanent due to the return of PT. KLS in 2008. They forcibly displaced the residents’ lands and crops, evicted the villagers and transformed their lands to palm oil plantations.

These land grabbing activities sparks the people’s resistance against PT. KLS and the climax was the massive conflict in 2010. The enraged masses was triggered and burnt down several corporation’s assets

Until now, this conflict has not yet resolved. Various efforts have been done by the peasants; from meeting with the regional to the central governments. Unfortunately all of these efforts were in vain.

Although still dogged by conflicts, the spirit of Titik and other peasants were still raging. They continued to cultivate those lands while practicing several innovations for production system. Other than becoming one of their source of livelihood, Titik and other peasants are aware that their 835, 5 hectares lands possessed a rather large potential. Those lands consisted of 250 hectares farmlands and 603, 5 hectares of dry lands.

Aside from the paddy potential, the peasants of Piondo also saw the potential for non-food agricultural product as strategic commodity that can be developed to increase the economic income of the peasants.

This potential is the pioneering reason for Titik to initiate the Women’s Cooperative in Piondo. In addition to be the vessel for agricultural production innovations, that cooperative is directed to raise the spirit of the women’s in Piondo Village to work, innovate and establish a more promising agricultural production system.

Currently, that women’s cooperative has innovated the agricultural systems there by developing the derivative products from red ginger. Various of processed products that has been generated from it are powdered red ginger sugar, ginger soap, ginger massage oil, ginger biscuit, ginger flavored ting-ting (traditional cookies), ginger-flavored sagon (dry snacks made from rice flour mixed with coconut and roasted sugar) and various instant powder products such as turmeric powder, java ginger powder and galingale powder.

Two products such as ginger flavored ting-ting and sagon are commonly produced by the residents of Piondo Village during Eid al-Fitr as celebration snacks.

Although economically promising, the system established by Titik along with Piondo’s peasants is not essentially value-added in term of economy. On the other hand, they also added the values of independent, solidarity, equality, togetherness and mutual cooperation to construct the complete economical, socio-cultural and political structures in the rural areas. (RA)

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