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Tropentag, October 5 - 7, 2004 in Berlin

"Rural Poverty Reduction
through Research for Development and Transformation"

Research and Development in Smallholder Sericulture for Rural Poverty Reduction in Java, Indonesia

Djeimy Kusnaman, Hans E. Jahnke

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Development Planning and Project Management, Germany


Java is one of the most densely populated regions in the world at 1000 persons per km2. The per capita income in the rural areas is estimated at US$ 500. Geertz, already in 1969 had coined the term involution for the island of Java implying that additional labour could no longer be usefully employed in agriculture and that population growth could only lead to increasing poverty in the rural areas. A policy response has been the “trasmigrasi” programs encouraging people to move to other islands of the Indonesian archipel. An autonomous response has been land flight or the uncontrolled movement of people to the already overcrowded cities or rather the slums thereof.

Efforts continue to be made to increase the income potential of rural households through the use of resources with low opportunity costs. In recent years sericulture has gained attention; mulberry shrubs can be grown on hilly land and labour not needed for crop production can be effectively utilised. Cursory calculations show that rural incomes could be doubled through the addition of sericulture activities. However, the introduction of sericulture in rural areas requires the establishment of a very complex project structure raising different practical problems and research questions at every project phase.

The basic contention of the paper is that – in the case of very complex projects - it is not the project but rather the project cycle that should provide the framework for analysis. The different phases normally recognised are conceptualisation, feasibility studies, appraisal, finance proposals, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and feedback with the policy environment. Taking them one by one for a concrete project case they provide insights into the workings of a project over time. The spectre of issues and questions changes. Themes of research for development take on different importance as the passing of time is taken as one of the dimensions of a project. Conclusions about the effectiveness of a development project in reducing poverty become more realistic.

Keywords: Indonesia, rural poverty reduction, sericulture, smallholder

Contact Address: Djeimy Kusnaman, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Development Planning and Project Management, Philippstraße 13, Haus 12, 10115 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: djeimy_kusnaman@yahoo.de

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