Enhancing smallholder tree systems and livelihoods in Lampung: what has fifteen years of research taught us?

In Lampung, Indonesia, the demand for horticultural products exceeds supply and proximity to Jakarta offers access to potentially lucrative markets. Smallholders are, however, unable to benefit from this due to poor market knowledge, channels and opportunities. Strategies to improve the situation must focus on quality germplasm, tree and system management skills, and the development of market awareness and linkages, say Roshetko and Purnomosidhi. In a paper published in Acta Horticulturae, they summarise strategies for the enhancement of smallholder tree systems and livelihoods in Lampung—synthesized from fifteen years of research in the area.

Lampung Province represents a microcosm of modern Indonesia in several ways, providing labour, agricultural products and other resources to the capital, Jakarta. Covering 3.5 million km2, the province has a population of 7.3 million. Government-sponsored migration has drastically altered the landscape in the past several decades. Prior to transmigration programs at least 70% of Lampung was forested. Today that figure stands at 10%.

Fruit market in Lampung. Photo by Pratiknyo Purnomosidhi

Fruit market in Lampung. Photo by Pratiknyo Purnomosidhi

Smallholders in Lampung cultivate a variety of tree gardens, including monocultural systems, multispecies gardens and agroforests. The commodity tree crop component (rubber, coffee, oil palm, coconut or damar) of these systems are the basis of household economies and management is strongly market-oriented. Farmers focus their resources on the production of those commodity crops. Fruit and other tree products are usually intended for household consumption and local market sale. Management of those crops remains traditional, with few resources allocated to their production.

There is high demand for horticultural products and proximity to Jakarta offers access to ready markets, but smallholders have inadequate market knowledge and limited access to market channels and opportunities. This means they most often sell to middlemen for low prices. They have the basic skills required to transform their subsistence horticultural systems into semi-commercial enterprises but need help to identify suitable species/cultivars, adapt horticultural practices for smallholder conditions, and develop permanent market linkages.

The World Agroforestry Centre and Winrock International have worked in Lampung for 15 years to improve smallholder agroforestry systems—developing an inventory of tree gardens, identifying management practices and smallholder market channels, and evaluating germplasm sources. Working with smallholder production systems and markets, with a focus on boosting the productivity and sustainability of forestry and agroforestry and increasing incomes in forested areas is a key focus of the CGIAR’s Collaborative Research Project 6 on Trees, Forests and Agroforestry—of which the World Agroforestry Centre is a key partner.

Tree garden components and management practices have been documented in Pakuan Ratu, Sumber Jaya and Krui. Market surveys have been conducted for fruit and other horticultural products. Fifty private timber and fruit tree nurseries have been surveyed to evaluate the quality, quantity and availability of tree germplasm. Market and nursery surveys have been conducted in 10 districts and 17 sub-districts.

Based on these, a number of strategies have been identified as having the potential to enhance smallholder tree garden systems and livelihoods:

  • Government land rehabilitation programs should prioritize the distribution of quality seedlings of appropriate fruit species/cultivars.
  • Vegetative propagation training and nursery establishment support should be provided for groups of interested farmers: participatory, practical and operating through a minimum of one nursery cycle.
  • The farmer group extension approach should be adopted to improve farmers’ skills. (Initial training helps farmers to analyse existing conditions, develop priorities and set work agendas. Intensive follow-up sessions enhance the technical skills of interested farmers).
  • Smallholders should be taught about product demand and specification, and how to identify appropriate market channels and develop relationships with traders. This knowledge helps them to improve the quality and quantity of their products. They should also be encouraged to assume sorting, grading and possible packaging activities to improve the quality of their products.
  • Efforts to expand farmers’ market integration should be made in concert with supportive traders, who are interested in buying the better quality products for a premium.
  • Marketing activities should be implemented through groups of farmers to achieve economies of scale and higher profitability.

Click here to read the full paper.

Roshetko, JM and P Purnomosidhi. 2013. Smallholder agroforestry fruit production in Lampung, Indonesia: horticultural strategies for smallholder livelihood enhancement. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 975:671-679 (http://www.actahort.org/books/975/975_84.htm)



Rebecca Selvarajah

Rebecca is a science writer, manager of publishing projects, trainer in science writing, and novelist — working partly from Nairobi, Kenya and partly from Morwell, Australia. With over 15 years of experience in writing, advertising/marketing, publishing and social media, she takes on varied assignments, travelling, if needed, to conduct relevant research and interviews. Originally from Sri Lanka, Rebecca holds a BA honours in Psychology, with minors in Gender Studies and Sociology. Email Rebecca on r.selvarajah@cgiar.org

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