Smallholder Farmers' Resilience under the Rural-ecological Crisis: Case Studies from West Java, Indonesia

By Arya Hadi Dharmawan, Eka Intan Kumala Putri and Dyah Ita Mardiyaningsih.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 16, 2016 $US5.00

Recent studies on the resilience of rural farmers in developing regions revealed a close connection between vulnerability, adapted livelihood mechanisms/strategies, and livelihood resilience. Resilience is reflected by the smallholder farmers’ capacity for survival. This paper tries to understand the nexus between the ecological vulnerability of a rural agricultural community suffering from detrimental effects of climate variability and farmers’ ways of adapting to the changing environment. Drawn from empirical research carried out in several ecologically critical agricultural regions of Indonesia, the study notes several adaptive livelihood mechanisms that reflect the way rural people withstand crises. By adapting to crises, these people constructively build resilience. Three adaptive mechanisms that increase livelihood resilience are economic adaptive mechanisms, ecological adaptive mechanisms, and social adaptive mechanisms. Farmers adopt a set of strategies to survive such as crop diversification, utilizing available natural resources, selling assets, asking for help, borrowing money, and creating and using social-network-based collective action to guarantee social security. The study used qualitative and quantitative methodologies to gain data and information. The study proposes that livelihood resilience develops as a response to ecological vulnerability. The authors conclude that rural livelihood resilience is the result of a set of continual adaptations that smallholder farmers employ to respond to crises and vulnerabilities.

Keywords: Climate Variability, Adaptive Mechanism, Livelihood Strategies, Livelihood Resilience, Indonesia

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 12, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.17-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 16, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.172MB)).

Dr. Arya Hadi Dharmawan

Head of Research Division, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development Studies, Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia

Dr. Eka Intan Kumala Putri

Researcher, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development Studies, Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia

Dyah Ita Mardiyaningsih

Junior Researcher, Center of Agricultural and Rural Development Studies, Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor, West, Indonesia