Linda (27 years old) is the resident of Cendana Village, Mamboro, Central Sumba. Linda lives as part of farmer family with her husband, children, younger sibling, and his father in law. During a certain period when agricultural activities are less intensive, Melkiausus, Linda’s husband, works as a mason.
This family also grow cashews and candlenuts in order to meet their needs. Harvesting time for cashews normally takes place from the month of April until early September, meanwhile, candlenuts are available almost throughout the year even though the peak of its harvesting period normally takes place between August until December. Additionally, this family also grow corn and cassava which they normally consume on a daily basis. Linda and her family also raise pigs which they usually sell when they need money or for customary events.
In addition to cooking, Linda is also responsible for tending the pigs every day. For daily consumption purposes, Linda and her family normally rely on their corns for staple food for a period of 4-6 months annually. They consume cassava or rice that they buy at the nearby shop during the other months. It takes an extra effort before the corns can be consumed because Linda needs about four hours every time she grinds about two kilograms of corns before they are ready to cook. During the corn harvesting time, Linda will normally grind the corn every day to fulfill the household needs.
When the corn supply runs out, corn grinding activities will also disappear. And these grinding activities will at least last between four to six months annually where most people in Sumba consume the corn between the months of February to the end of August. This is a common situation for Linda and most of women in Sumba. Because culturally, they responsible to provide corns as the staple food for the family.
Since the time spent by Sumbanese women in milling the corns seen as too long and inefficient, TERANG (Investing in Renewable Energy for Rural, Remote Communities) Project – a partnership project between Hivos Consortium along with Yayasan Rumah Energi (YRE) and Village Infrastructure Angel (VIA) together with Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia (MCA-I) offers the opportunity a new service called solar-powered agro-processing equipment by relying on renewable energy.
Cutting the corn and rice processing time is significantly needed in order to make women can use their spare time more for other productive or social activities. This need is matched with the capability of these machines that can process rice grains into a rice worthy of consumption as well as process the corn starting from shelling the corns into corn kernels and then turn it into the various size of corn powder ready for consumption only within 10 minutes for every 2 kilograms of corn.
TERANG Project established a collaboration with agent who provides agro-processing service. Rinka D. Renya who lives in the same village with Linda is one of them. Since August 2017, when the installation of the milling machine is complete, Linda has been one of the loyal customers. Even though Linda has to pay IDR 500 for each kilogram of corns milled, Linda feels that the cost is relatively reasonable in comparison to the time she has to spend in milling the corn manually.
Even though since September the corn supply is running out, Linda still visits the corn milling services to mill the cassava for her family consumption. Linda and her family have to allocate IDR 40,000 on a monthly basis access agro-processing services. However, the money spent is worth Linda’s time and energy. This spare time can be used by Linda and her husband to tend their plantation, to take care of their children as well as to rest.