The value of BBC plants for Javanese peoples will discuss about Landbouw-Kolonisatie program and the correlation with the cultivation tradition of the BBC plants. The BBC plants are excluding rice as the most important crop in Indonesia. These 3 plants are banana, bamboo, and coconut. Why these 3 plants are essential for Javanese peoples?, because it related with the benefits of these 3 plants. In fact, these 3 plants are almost exist in daily activities of Javanese peoples in Lampung province.
The design of settlement is quite uniform everywhere in the metro. The design is including the BBC plants which always available in their backyard. Therefore it can become a proof of the value from BBC plants is essential for Javanese peoples. It seem like they got the values from their ancestors in Java island. In almost all Javanese traditional ritual, these crops also always exist. Javanese society is an ethnic group that lives by using philosophy in their daily lives.
About Landbouw-Kolonisatie and the tradition
Landbouw-kolonisatie is resettlement. It refer to the migrating people from Java island to other island. The program was to reduce population density in the Java Island. While at the same time also increase the food crop production. This program is closely related to the opening of new agricultural area, so that called Landbouw-Kolonisatie. Finally, colonists is the term for all Javanese peoples who join with the program and live in the location and become permanent residents.
Lampung is best place
Before executing the project, besides Lampung, there are some province which become candidates. Sawah Lunto in West Sumatra, Kepahiang in Bengkulu, and some location in Kalimantan and Sulawesi. Lampung is the best option at that time, because Lampung has lowest population density among others location candidates.
The migration from Java to Lampung in Sumatra island has several reasons. Firstly, is population distribution. Java island is has denser population. While Lampung is still “empty”. Secondly, is the welfare. Most of Javanese people is small farmers with the limited land. And many of them also only become workers for the richer farmers. Thirdly, is economy reason. Sumatra is lowland rainforest with some big river and has fertile soils. The promising land to plant many crops. Fourthly, Lampung has low population density and Lampung local peoples are welcome to the colonists (peoples who join with the kolonisatie program).
Javanese peoples arrived in several batches
The first two batches of kolonisatie project were accomplish in 1905 and 1921. Firstly, in 1905, 155 peoples from Bagelen-Kedu Central Java were arrived at Gedong Tataan-Pasawaran. Secondly, the next batch was executed in 1921. Next group of Javanese families was located in Wonosobo – Tangamus. This two batches were using subsidiary system. Every family who join, will got foods and other logistics while they are preparing the land to produce their own needs.
The third batch were started in 1932. This project was done after there are agreement between government and two family groups (Marga Unyi and Marga Buay Nuban). The group of Javanese peoples went to their location in Gedong Dalam village through Gunung Sugih. The live close to the Lampung peoples in Gedong Dalam. Their location now called Jojog in Pekalongan East Lampung. Jojog could be from word Jujug or jujugan (in Javanese mean the destination place).
The bedding story
After the forest is clear and ready for the cultivation, then they were located to their settlement. The location of the settlement now called Rancang Purwo. Rancang Purwo is the first settlement. The term for settlement is bedding in Dutch language. The bedding numbers is still popular till today for peoples who lives in Metro.
The Fourth Batch
The fourth batch were done during 1935 to 1941, thousands of Javanese peoples gradually arrive in Metro. Their bedding location is a lowland forest that stretches between 2 big rivers (Way Sekampung and Way Seputih). Between these two big rivers, there are 3 small rivers, Way Raman, Way Batanghari, and Way Bunut. This huge flat forest is the place was the forerunner of the area which was then popular as Metro.
This fourth batch is the most successful project. Kolonisatie project is become interesting for other Javanese peoples to join. The next batches poplar because using Bawon system. Bawon is term for work salary after people helping the paddy harvesting process from residents who have arrived earlier. Bawon usually 1/5 to 1/7 part of the result from their work. Some biggest achievement from this batch are: about 18 kilometers of road between Tegineneng and Metro, Argoguruh dam, and irrigation system which distribute water from Way Sekampung river to the new cultivation location.
Bamboo, banana, and coconut are grown in almost in all villages of colonists in Metro. Lampung is one of the hotspot for the diversities of these tree plants. Naturally they just grown wild. Coconut trees is abundant in the coastal areas, while the bananas and bamboos is everywhere in the forest from lowland to the highland. And all these 3 plants are cultivate in the colonists backyard. The value of BBC plants for Javanese peoples related with their tradition.
Even Bamboo is having important value for Javanese peoples, the colonists was not directly find/use bamboo in their first phase arrival. When the colonists arrive, they should build shelter. The shelter is temporary before they can build bigger traditional house. The shelters and houses structure is come from wood. The materials were abundant surround their shelters. Bamboo is cultivate after the houses and farm were ready. And finally bamboo became one of the plants that always cultivate in the colonist villages.
Lampung has many types of bananas. But mostly they grown wild. Since colonists arrive, they gradually cultivate more bananas near their settlement. In all backyard of colonists village we can easily found various banana trees. Banana fruits is vital for Javanese peoples. They use the banana fruit in their tradition ritual and party.
In Javanese tradition, coconut is plant with many benefit. The Javanese colonists has beliefs that all parts of coconuts are useful for their lives. The wood is one of the best materials for house structure. The young leaves are for boiled food wrappers, while the old leaves are for roof materials. The fruits are for oil and also food.
The kolonisatie village areas is located around Metro (now belong to Central Lampung, Metro city, and East Lampung. Actually, until 1990s, the villages names are less popular the the bedding numbers. If you go to these villages, peoples are more recognize the number than the village name. It happens because when the bedding numbers were created. People known and memorized before the village name created.
The BBC plants is grown for daily use not for commercial purpose
If you go to the location, these tree crops are everywhere. They are mostly available in the backyard. And the BBC plants also found in all Javanese village in the Lampung province. Banana, bamboo, and coconut is grow surrounding their house. But the interesting fact is, that they cultivate these tree plants is for their personal use. Not for commercial purpose. So the value of BBC plants for Javanese peoples is essential.
The process to write this post is from literature studies and based on observation, discussion, and telling story from first and second generation in the location. I was born and spent my first 23 years in the Landbouw-kolonisatie, in bedding 30A. I am the third generation from the fourth batch group. My grandfather and families arrived at Metro on 1939. He was originally from Kediri East Java.
- Eri Fujita. 2009. Early Colonization Policy in Colonial Lampung and Javanese Settlers: From 1905 to the 1920s. Southeast Asia History and Culture. Vol 2009; Iss.38
- Jeff Kingston. 1990. Agricultural Involution Among Lampung’s Javanese. South East Asian Studies, Vol. 27, No. 4, March 1990
- Levang P. and Sevin O. 1990. 80 years of Transmigration in Indonesia. Departemen Transmigrasi and ORSTOM. Second Edition 1990.
always love to learn from nature. Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses