The Covid-19 pandemic makes the community’s economy sluggish. But it is not discouraged residents in several villages in Malang Regency, East Java, from surviving through several creations that have been created.
Among them, residents of Dampit Malang Regency who cultivate ornamental chili plants. Even 100 types of chili plants are developed to attract buyers from various countries.
“I am cultivating unique imported ornamental chilies. Until now, there are 100 variants of the more than 450 chili varieties in the world that we cultivate hydroponically in our small garden,” said the ornamental chili cultivator from Dampit, Malang Regency, Suwassono.
He admitted that during the Covid-19 pandemic, he spent a lot of time at home following the government’s recommendations. The time is spent planting various variants of chili.
Some chili plants planted are Carolina reaper, Jays ghost pepper, Bhut jolokia, Big black mama chupetinho, Buble gum, Sangria, Sparkler, Lemon drop, and a number of other types.
Swass, as Swassono is known, explained that he has been growing the wick system hydroponically since 2018 by using limited land in his yard.
“If you calculate the initial capital for greenhouse installations, seeds, nutrition, and other equipment, it’s around Rp. 10 million,” he explained.
Swass admitted buying imported seeds from several countries, making local purchases online, and exchanging new seeds with the plant community. He also admitted that he got the knowledge of hydroponic cultivation from a friend who has a similar hobby.
“From the plant community and self-taught, they also read empirical literature. We utilized an area of about 25 square meters in front of the house,” he explained.
It is stated that the time for chili plants to be harvested depends on the type of variety, some are short-lived, and some are long-lived, sold in the form of seeds, fresh fruit, and plant seeds. Everything is done online.
“For fruit yields depend on the type of chili variety, the average age of the week has been fruitful,” he explained.
He said the buyers of these ornamental chilies came from Italy, New Delhi, India, and Vietnam. Meanwhile, buyers from Indonesia include Bogor, Jember, Semarang, Mojokerto, Jakarta, and other cities. If outside Java from Lampung, Samarinda, Batam, and Palembang.
He has made efforts to empower residents with the Dampit Hydroponic Group community.