Indonesia: Cultivating Fruit and Vegetables – a Way Out of Poverty

Many people in the rural regions of Sulawesi live in poverty. The Christian Church in South Sulawesi (GKSS) runs an agricultural project which trains farming women and men in well-founded cultivation methods to improve forming and their living standards.

The small town of Malino is located about 90 kilometres from Makassar in the mountains which rise up to 1500 metres. Exceptional plants grow there due to the mild mountain climate and the fertile soil. The conditions here are ideal for cultivating fruit and vegetables. Although many families have been farming for generations here, they hardly earn anything from agriculture and live in poverty. They also lack the knowledge, equipment and methods to cultivate their land profitably and they are unable to make up for this deficit from their own resources.

The GKSS uses the favourable local conditions for a major agricultural project to improve the living standards in the region. They purchased 1.8 hectares (approx. 4.4 acres) of land in Malino for their project and trains local farmers to farm their land using sustainable methods. In the long term, the farmers will achieve greater earnings and obtain a higher profit. Especially poor congregation members benefit from pooling resources which they would otherwise have no access to.

One agricultural plot – many possible uses

The large plot of land which previously lay fallow will first be prepared and built in terraces to cultivate fruit and vegetables. The natural water courses are guided so that the land is irrigated even during the dry season. The water is also routed to supply the newly built breeding station for freshwater fish on the plot.

A team of local farming women and men and agricultural experts from the South Sulawesi church are always at hand to deal with problems or questions. Currently, they are building a large greenhouse to breed young plants. They are also building a training centre where course participants can stay overnight.


255 million inhabitants, of which 27 percent are poor or threatened by poverty

Modern ecological agriculture for a life in dignity

Another aspect of this project is research. The team observes and supervises growing plants and the soil. The team analyses how the soil reacts to various fertilisers and pesticides in order to increase yield and environmental sustainability. At the same time, the women and men participating in the project are trained continuously in modern agricultural and business methods. The church’s agricultural programme will turn into a pilot project from which all farmers in the region can learn and benefit.

The project aim is to allow farmers in Malino to cultivate fruit and vegetables not only to cover their own needs but also to supply markets, supermarkets and hotels regularly with locally produced food of high quality. This will permit them and their children to live a life without poverty.

Project goals

The project of the Christian Church in South Sulawesi trains farmers of both genders in the remote mountain village of Malino to cultivate their fields at a profit. The aim is for the women and men to harvest more fruit and vegetables than they require to cover their own needs so that they can sell the surplus to restaurants and supermarkets. The farmers then share their newly acquired knowledge of agriculture with their neighbours and friends. This improves the living conditions of people in the region sustainably.

Project work

The project work consists of various phases. First, church land is prepared and irrigated with new water courses. This is followed by planting fruit and vegetable plants and building a fish farm and a greenhouse. A team of experts works hand in hand with the local inhabitants. They share knowledge and provide them with advice and support. Together the women and men also research the cultivation methods which are best suited from the mountainous region.

Project partner

The Christian Church in South Sulawesi (GKSS) lives and works in a Muslim environment. At the outbreak of World War II, the GKSS had about 10,000 members; in 1952, membership dropped to 600 people after two waves of persecution. Today, membership is back up to 6,000 congregation members. Although it is small, the GKSS has decided to offer self-help measures and missionary work in poor rural communities and runs a training centre for village development work.

We are pleased to hear that you are interested in this project. If you have any general questions, please use the contact form below. We are also happy to help you personally if you have any questions or require further information – by phone or by E-mail.


Djoko P. A. Wibowo

Liaison Secretary Indonesia

+49 711 636 78 -36

Angelika Jung

Head of Unit Fundraising

+49 711 636 78 -63

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