Yayan Sofian, 43, an urban farmer checks his plantation at the rooftop of Baitussalam Mosque in West Jakarta on March 18, 2021. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
No Soil, No Problem: Jakarta's Baitussalam Mosque Urban Farmers
BY :YUDHA BASKORO
MARCH 20, 2021
Jakarta. Jakarta is home to various social problems.
Population density has stripped the capital's residents of their communal spaces and productive cultivation lands — an issue often ignored by the government. People are also suffering from job losses amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
But as tough as the situation can be, Yayan Sofian does not give up.
Yayan — along with his four other friends — turned the roof of Baitussalam Mosque in Taman Sari, West Jakarta, into an urban farm with the modern "no soil, no problem" solution — hydroponics. This marked the beginning of Masjid Baitussalam Farm (MB Farm).
"We learned about hydroponic gardening from Youtube and Google. The mosque chairman first came up with the idea. It has already been a year. Because of the pandemic, rather than being unemployed with no income, it is best to start hydroponic gardening at the mosque's roof," the 43-year-old urban farmer said at the Baitussalam Mosque on Thursday.
The local village government provided guidance for the mosque farmers after they saw the latter's harvests and sincerity.
Every two weeks, MB Farm can produce around 10-20 organic vegetable packages. They would sell these packages for Rp 10.000 ($0.69) each to the local community around the mosque.
According to Yayan, after a year, the harvests could pay for the mosque's operational and security costs. The mosque's rooftop currently has 6 hydroponic systems with 2,000 holes that can be planted with cesim, bokchoy, and water spinach.
But there is another obstacle to overcome.
"Our main problem is marketing. Our products can compete [in the market], but the marketing is not good enough because there is no one to accomodate them," Yayan said.
Business, salaries and benefits for the farmers also remain an issue.
This prompted Yayan and other farmers to once again put on their thinking cap. They then came up with the idea to make juices from their very own organic veggies while adding honey pineapple for extra flavor.
"The juice's selling price could be higher. If we later sell juices, hopefully we can have additional income," Yayan said.