Timber production and poverty: management strategy of smallholder timber farmers in West Java, Indonesia
Timber production and poverty: management strategy of smallholder timber farmers in West Java, Indonesiawca2014-1901 Mohamad Siarudin 1,* 1Ministry of Forestry, Agroforestry Research Institute - Forestry Research and Development Agency (FORDA), Ciamis, Indonesia
When other islands in Indonesia are going through the declining phase in forest transition curve, Java is already in the reforestation phase largely due to existence of smallholder timber systems. These systems have been practiced for generations. However, despite the high price of timber in the market, many farmers are still in poverty. We examined the relationship between socio-economic characteristics and earnings from timber systems for poor and non-poor farmers in Ciamis District, one of the main areas for smallholder timber systems in West Java, Indonesia. The categorization of poor and non-poor farmers were based on the information derived from national census, which was verified during this study. We surveyed 59 farmers on education and age of household head, family size, plot size and distance from home, household income (non-timber) as well as management and utilization of timber systems practiced by farmers. Based on their timber harvest for the past 10 years, the average income of poor farmers was 133 USD and 680 USD for non-poor farmers. Using a simple correlation analysis we found that land size and non-timber household income are positively correlated with earning from timber. Thus, pointing out that to have good earning from timber systems, natural and financial capitals are important. Small landholdings (natural capital) combined with low non-timber household income (financial capital) caused the poor households’ capability in utilizing their timber systems as assets do not result in better earnings. Current programs for small-holder timber farmers, largely in form of subsidies (seedlings) or capacity building, rarely differentiate between the two-types of farmers. Hence, has lead to very often ineffective program results. Future programs should consider the typology of farmers.