Yessy Hendrika Rambu Yaku Lawa – Cultivating Wild Tubers To Reduce Food Insecurity

Date grant awarded: November 5, 2016

On the island of Central Sumba, Indonesia, water is scarce and the dry season lasts over three-quarters of the year. For residents of the island, this long period of drought brings with it food insecurity and the threat of fire.

During the short rainy season, the islanders cultivate rice, a crop which requires a lot of water, pesticides, and fungicides. This practice leaves little water to sustain them during the long drought, contaminates standing water supplies, and puts them at risk of being unable to produce enough food to make it through the dry season.

Young biologist, Yessy Hendrika Rambu Yaku Lawa has watched this cycle with concern and believes that she has a solution. Noticing that when the water supplies run low and rice stores are at risk of being exhausted the people of the island travel long distances to forage wild tubers, she plans to help the islanders domesticate and grow these resilient crops. Much more nutritionally dense than rice, and requiring far less water to grow, these crops will greatly reduce water pollution, increase water security, and also provide a source of income for the community.

Youth Environmental Hub Team Member, Hayu Dyah, believes that by helping people take control of their food supplies and helping them to reduce the environmental impact of their basic needs we ultimately end up with a more sustainable society. She chose to award this flow fund in support of Yessy’s vision for a solution to this long-standing issue. Funds will be used to train and support island members as they begin to grow wild tubers on Central Sumba.