This Farmer Saved His Village From Drought by Planting Trees

The seeds of change

Feb 9, 2018
Farmer Sadiman is trying to convince locals that the water shortage problem that happens during dry seasons can be partly solved by planting trees on the denuded hills.

Farmer Sadiman is trying to convince locals that the water shortage problem that happens during dry seasons can be partly solved by planting trees on the denuded hills. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

Farmer Pak Sadiman has made it his mission to raise awareness and do something about Central Java’s water shortage problem, little by little.

The 65-year-old has transformed his dry, drought-prone village into a groundwater haven by planting trees on nearby land for the last 19 years, and he’s encouraging others to join in, too.

Sadiman realized that the land was in dire need of some water when the Gendol River--previously the sole source of water for villagers--was quickly drying up.

Even the rubber trees, Sadiman’s main source of income, were so dry, they could no longer produce rubber latex.

It was then that the father of two pulled all of his resources and took action so that generations to come could benefit from the planted trees.

His choice? Banyan trees, which “unlike rubber trees that absorb groundwater, banyan trees can retain groundwater. The more banyan trees planted, the more villagers will get clean water,” he told The Jakarta Post.

Although he would often find his seeds dug up by cattle, the farmer never became discouraged from achieving his goal, providing his village with a reliable water source.

The Geneng subdistrict office reported that he’s planted at least 11,000 trees over the last 19 years, and although other districts have experienced a lack of water supply, Geneng seems to have escaped the dry season.

Villagers have now joined in Sadiman’s efforts and given him free seeds or worked alongside him to plant the trees.

“Pak Sadiman is our hero. This village used to struggle with a water crisis, but now we have an abundance of water because of him,” the Geneng subdistrict chief told the Post.

Sadiman said that as long as he’s physically healthy and fit, he’ll continue to plant trees and fulfill his vision of avoiding a potentially disastrous drought and help provide clean water to his fellow villagers; one seed at a time.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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