Saving and social functions of cattle in smallholder livelihoods : a multiple case study of cattle management in NTB, Indonesia : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Systems and Environment at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
In Indonesia and internationally, market-led rural development initiatives seek to transition smallholder farmers from current farming practices to those driven by market requirements. Expected outcomes from these often single product focussed initiatives are often not reached. This is the case in Eastern Indonesia where smallholder cattle farming and beef production is the target of market-led rural development initiatives that have not to date matched expected outcomes. This thesis answers the research question: What shapes smallholder farmers’ management of cattle in NTB Indonesia and why? In so doing the complex dynamics that influence the management of one enterprise that is a part of a multiple interlinked livelihood is illustrated, and the reasons why single enterprise market led initiatives may need to be revised is made clear.
The sustainable livelihood framework and concepts of functions and attributes of livelihood assets and activities guided this research. A case study of two social groupings was conducted in the Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) Province, East Indonesia. Primary data was collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews supported by documents. Data was analysed and interpreted using qualitative data analysis.
Management of cattle by smallholders constituted decisions around ownership, care, buying, selling, and retaining of cattle, along with nutrition, healthcare, and mating. Smallholder management was dominated by cattle being primarily viewed as a form of saving rather than a source of household food or income. Cattle fulfilled a complementary function to other smallholder enterprises and household needs and were also significantly shaped by the significance of cattle to social and cultural norms that differ in nuanced ways across social groups living in the same location. The drivers for cattle management were not primarily market-led and the market dynamics around cattle reflected and reinforced the role of cattle in smallholders’ livelihoods.
How smallholders manage an asset or an activity is evidenced in this research to be shaped by not only the function fulfilled by that asset, but also by that asset’s relationship to other assets and their functions in the livelihood. This research argues that market-led initiatives that focus on a single enterprise will continue to fall short until greater consideration as to the place of that enterprise in smallholders’ livelihood is considered in designing and implementing initiatives.