This blog attempts to describe and to reveal honestly and fully about Kapuas Hulu, our homeland. Its strength and weakness faces new global order and sophisticated technology.
Kapuas Hulu, the charming green from the heart of Borneo island are waiting for you to come, to explore, to reveal and to feel the amazing nature and culture that God has made in Uncak Kapuas' land (Bumi Uncak Kapuas)…

The Shifting Cultivation, would it be everlasting?

Dayak tribe has one of hereditary customs in running farming terrain. That is shifting cultivation. After one planting period is over, farmers would move to new locations to be built as a farming field. Most of locations are wooded area.

Some Dayak farmers notified after many times of shifting sites they would look for new locations which those are former locations of their fields as well. It means, a shifting cultivation has a cycle that the cultivation would return to same spot at a certain time.

Shifting cultivation is still carried out as part of efforts to preserve ancestral traditions. It’s a kind of local wisdom, new location of fields are needed to give point in time for soil to have a break and restore its fertility after a couple of months were absorbed by rice plant (padi).

During the growing season, soil’s nutrient was being soaked up by rice plants so that soil’s fertility is reduced. After the season ended, the farmers left the land. That is the time when soil’s fertility being recovered, among others, through the decay of leaves, wood decay, the activity of worms and other micro organisms. Then the ground began overgrown with grass and trees back to form secondary forest.

It cannot be refuted that the increase of population and the growth of development cause to reduced land area.
Malthus’ theory said population growth’s faster than food production. The theory questions environment’s supporting capacity and environment’s retaining capacity. Environment’s supporting capacity decreases if population growth goes higher.

Malthus' theory can be used to analyze the "prospect" of shifting cultivation in the future. The continuance of it will stand facing on the fact diminishing land. And farmers should be aware of this fact, that shifting cultivation would difficult to do due to land’s availability. Ever since land has been growing reduced farmers should find solution, for instance by permanent cultivation.

It’s not easy to convert inherited habit of shifting cultivation. It needs commitment of farmers and support from local government. Government often blames shifting cultivation as a main cause of forest fire and smokes. Instead of giving solution to farmers, government made prohibition against shifting cultivation.

Most farmers use agricultural knowledge inherited by the family. There’ are few Dayak farmers who have the educational background of agriculture. Hence, they require knowledge, skills and agricultural equipment to be able to process former location to become fertilized and ready to be replanted.

From Paddle To Medal

Kapuas Hulu regency has many rivers and lakes. In past, the two became the main public transportation paths in the absence of roads.

Therefore, on the whole folks of Kapuas Hulu are skilful at rowing boat. Until now, the people who live in coastal rivers still use boats for transportation mainly for fishing.

By a number of youths of Kapuas Hulu paddling skill continues to be trained and developed by means of a rowing team. They acquired the result of their keen rehearsal.

Being the sole representative of Indonesia, Kapuas Hulu rowing team won the Championship of the Dragon Boat International, in Keddah, Malaysia. Rowing race was held on 30-31 March 2012 for celebrating the anniversary of Sultan Keddah.

This is the first time for Kapuas Hulu rowing team won the overseas paddling competition. In the final, Kapuas Hulu rowing team that represented Indonesia, defeated Malaysia and Cambodia and hit the first finish.

Shifting Cultivation, A Balanced Life

August is commonly known as the starting phase of traditional farming for Dayak in Kapuas Hulu. Now, climate change makes everything unpredictable. Full or rain during August causes farmers begin farming this month, September.

The traditional farming of Dayak is well-known as shifting cultivation using inherited seed. Scientifically, shifting cultivation refers to those who conduct rotational cultivation with rather long fallow period.
This fallow period functions as forest conservation dan natural resource around. It allows vegetation regenerates in nature to revert soil’s fertility and ecological forest’s function.

The step in traditional farming of Dayak’s community starts with deciding the next location for cultivation then followed by land clearance.

Afterwards it’s time for planting the inherited seed of rice. The planting comprises of what farmers call as “menugal” and “menebar”.

Menugal is dibbling soil with a pointed stick in order to sow seeds. The hole is 7 cm depth with 50 cm distanced from other holes. Dibble’s usually performed by men as it’s more exhausted.

Menebar is sowing the seed into the hole. The scatterers are women. Those activities are conducted in group.

Traditional farming is about culture, participation and balance in gender.
Cultivation is not merely for getting food, but also to sustain the culture. Cultivation can’t be detached from culture. Every step of cultivation takes culture within it, for instance fertility cult.
Participation means community self-help. It’s a mutual cooperation. Other families give hands to help and they‘ll gain the same aids in return.
Balance in gender can be seen from cultivation’s activity which involves male and female. Man and woman, children, youth and elderly people participate sincerely.

Makai Taun, the Harvest of Gratefulness

Dishes of food and traditional munchies are laid out on. Rice powder from the harvest’s grain rice, is baked become appetizing cakes. Tuak, the traditional beverage is un-left.
People dance and sing gleefully. Every household visits others. Some traditional rituals are conducted.

May is a special month for Dayak Kantuk tribe. In this month they celebrate “Makai Taun”.
Makai Taun is an annual festivity held to express gratitude for the harvest.
Makai Taun means food for a year. People wish the harvest would be sufficient for one year stock of rice.
Dayak Kantuk tribe gets harvest once a year as they still do an unsettled traditional farming. Most of them still plant inheritable seeds of grain rice.

Makai Taun is held about a week. Its peak is at May 20th. Every village dwelt by Dayak Kantuk tribe will celebrate it.
In this joviality, a certain ritual is held to bestow the seed of grain rice which will be sown for next planting season.*

A Bag for Everything

A woman from the village Sukamaju, Mentebah sub-district in Kapuas Hulu, was carrying tengkalang contained bananas.
Tengkalang or tengkin is a basket used to carry fruit and vegetables from farming. It's made from rattan. The natives of Kapuas Hulu use it as a bag to bring anything to go farming.
It's very useful to carry heavy things, such as fruits, firewood and sweeden rice, and sometimes it's used to hold their little children. Ngamben, is the way of local people to carry their kids on their back by bounding them with cloths or putting them
in a tengkalang.