The Cikananga Sustainability Program
The principal motivation for The Cikananga Sustainability Program is to improve the sustainability of the Cikananga Wildlife Centre, continue our community outreach and support, and stabilise on-site soil erosion and improve our access to water.
Most of the food currently provided to the approximately 550 animals of the rescue centre comes from local sources and the city of Sukabumi. This food is purchased three times a week and processed on-site, making sure the animals receive the best quality food available to us. The city of Sukabumi is over an hour away, requiring our Keepers to take time away from the animals to ensure their nutritional needs are met.
The farm can change this dynamic by providing local, organic, nutrient-dense food, reducing Cikananga reliance on external sources.
How did the Sustainability Program begin?
At the beginning of 2020, Scott Hartle came to Cikananga to volunteer with us and to help to start the Wanicare Foundations’ long-cherished dream of establishing the Cikananga Sustainability program.
Scott is a conservation biologist, with proven experience in research development, project management and field research. To date, most of his experience relates to biodiversity in human-modified landscapes. He is devoted to understanding the impact of human-modified landscapes on biodiversity but also the role they play in conservation. His primary focus areas include multifunctional land management, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation.
Scott; “I am adamant that we can develop and foster land-use practices that provide communities with sustainable livelihoods, whilst conserving local and regional biodiversity”.
The Cikananga sustainability program focuses on food production, land management and water access.
The three areas of focus form a multiphase project, involving an on-site composting facility, food production area, tree nursery (including fruit trees), and a well-water improvement program.
- Food production: We have started a small on-site farm to improve our access to food. At first, it would be unrealistic to suggest that the farm alone could produce the quantities needed to feed all species on site, but reducing the number of trips to Sukabumi would be a fantastic start. The basic premise for this project involves founding a farm that produces vegetables and fruits for the partial needs of the animals at Cikananga. Currently, the centres’ farm includes two growing areas, totalling roughly 2 hectares/5 acres. Cikananga’s farm is a diversified organic farm. The fruit and vegetable operation, coming into its third year of production, supplies high-quality nutritious organic vegetables and fruits to the animals. It is being developed on land previously used for rice production, with a greenhouse and compost building. We practice minimal-soil disturbance methods, focussing on soil health and composting.
- Composting system: has been designed and is currently transforming organic waste into compost, which is then used on the farm, improving the quality of the local clay-rich soil. The compost building accepts all forms of organic waste produced from feeding the animals. Before the new compost project, Cikananga did have an on-site compost operation, which was terminated in 2006 due to a lack of available staff and a period of consolidation. As a result, the structure which once operated as a compost building required structural repair and restoration. The compost building has had several ‘face lifts’ with the most recent involving the replacement of rotten roof supports, broken roof tiles and an extension. Lots of healthy and good quality compost is produced and used for the farm to grow food.
Land management and water access:
- Healing The Matrix project: provides farmers will the opportunity to break the cycle between agro-industrial dependence and foster an environmentally friendly and economically sustainable approach towards alternative agroecological farming practices. Our project aims to improve the ecological and social stability of the rural landscape. The project will support farmers’ transition towards agroecological practices, conduct habitat restoration and foster local business creation through a coffee agroforestry program. The Healing the Matrix project has not started yet. But is planned, for the near future, funding dependant.
- Education: we will provide conservation and regenerative agricultural education and field training programs for community participants. Furthermore, we will develop local release programs for several species of conservation concern within the project area. What do we want to achieve in the near future?
- In Cikananga, we want to continue the development of our regenerative food production, with the intention of providing 70% of our animal food needs. Additionally, we want to partly automate our irrigation system, establish a recognized regenerative farming educational program with a conservation focus and provide our local community with organic compost and wholesale nutrient-dense organic food through a market garden.
- If we can obtain enough support in the coming years, we can take crucial steps that can improve our soil health; increasing our food production capacity, which in turn will improve animal welfare and the independency of Cikananga. Soil health and fertility are fundamental for healthy food production, which is why it is the primary focus of our sustainability program. Once we can demonstrate the practices and benefits of regenerative agriculture the farm will become a Model Farm for local people and international volunteers. The demonstration of successful organic and regenerative agricultural farming practices can encourage a change in mindset and land-use practices. A reduction in agro-industrial chemicals entering the environment could have a real positive impact on surrounding landscapes and the
wildlife that inhabits them.
- Although we realize that these projects will not be easy, we also know that we have already achieved a lot with a small budget and a small but dedicated team, and therefore believe in our goal-oriented approach.
Will you help us?
If you are interested in our work; To continue and improve our programming, we need investments and long-term financial support. If what you’ve read aligns with the mission, vision, and values of your organisation or with you personally, we would love to make time and explain more about our work.