Soon after the government announced about the Covid-19 as a national disaster on 14 March 2020, people are responding in 2 ways. One kinds of response was do everythings as usual, the other kind of response was panic which expressed in panic buying of daily needs, handsanitizers and masks, as well as local initiatives of lock-downs. Responding to this situation, RCE Yogyakarta started with raising community awareness on Covid-19 by disseminating the right information about the Covid-19 outbreak, its causes, how it was spread, the symptoms, and how to overcome it by creating and distributing leaflets, disseminating information using a mobile information car, and conducting face-to-face counseling while maintaining health protocols, i.e. wearing masks, and maintaining distance. All of the dissemination process was done using local languages. On our visit to primary health care facilities we found that they needed personal protection equipment. Paying attention to the comprehensiveness in responding to socioeconomic problems while simultaneously also responding to health sector, we found alternative products for micro, small, and medium enterprises engage in batik clothing manufacturing. We encourage batik clothing manufacturers to produce PPE and fabric masks. We then distributed the PPE to primary health facilities and promotes the use of fabric masks instead of surgery masks for common people. RCE Yogyakarta also produce and distribute face shields.
Facing the disruption of trade chain due to locally initiated lockdown which resulted in the non marketability of agricultural products, RCE Yogyakarta are looking for alternative ways by utilizing information and communication technology. We inspire students to assist agricultural product producers and traders to use WhatsApp to sell their merchandise. WhatsApp was chosen since it needs no additional cost while provides oppotunities for communication between producers and marketers and consumers, a cultural touch that cannot be left behind. The way of selling agricultural products is now spreading quite fast due to the support of communities who are trying to help samll, micro, and medium enterprises in facing the pandemic blow.
RCE Yogyakarta also initiates perishable agricultural products processing and packaging. We started it with processing of guava into guava juice, packaged it, and then selling it to communities. The success of guava processing, packaging, and marketing inspires people to process, pack, and sell other perishable agricultural products such as vegetables, fishs, and chickens.