Enhancing Upland Adaptation to Multidimensional Shocks and Stressors for Improving Livelihood and Landscape
Landscape of settlement and farming area in Pagar Alam
A female smallholder dries the coffee cherries in her yard
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Pagar Alam is an upland coffee production area, located in the upstream of Musi, one of the largest and critical watersheds in Sumatra, Indonesia. This area faces various environmental and economic challenges that contribute to smallholders’ vulnerability. The previous capacity building initiative for local farmers by the government was mainly focused on productivity and quality, without integrating any strategy to improve farmers’ resilience or any strategy on landscape conservation. Therefore, this project undertook vulnerability and farming profitability assessments to gain a better understanding of smallholders’ vulnerability. The assessment indicated the need to reduce socio-economic vulnerability to lower the threat of degradation towards the upland landscape, by connecting smallholders to a better coffee market. Based on the assessment results, the team collaborated with NedCoffee and Starbucks Farmers Support Centre to organise a Sustainable Coffee Workshop for coffee stakeholders. The project also facilitated coffee farmer groups to access a better coffee market as well as access funding from the banking sector. The project shows that vulnerability to socio-economic shocks could drive further environmental degradation, and that adaptation requires a holistic approach taking into account local livelihood and landscape integrity. Opportunities are available to link the commodity market with initiatives to maintain landscape quality while improving the local livelihood through sustainable agricultural practices. A multi-scale collaboration with the government and private sector is required to promote the approach.
The project has gained several important achievements, such as:
- Linking market expectations with the landscape conservation efforts
- Multi-scale collaboration with the private sector, including NedCoffee and Starbucks Farmers Centre, thereby strengthening farmers’ capacity and raising their awareness regarding sustainable farming practices
- Improved understanding of the vulnerability of smallholders in the upland region of Indonesia
- Gaining financial support from the banking sector as the seed fund to access a better market
There are at least three key lessons generated from the project activities:
- Upland smallholders’ vulnerability to socio-economic shocks could drive further environmental degradation through short-term intensive farming practices. Adaptation to such vulnerability requires a holistic approach that takes into account local livelihood and landscape integrity.
- Opportunities are available to link the commodity market with initiatives to maintain the upland landscape quality while improving the local livelihood through sustainable agricultural practices.
- Multi-scale efforts involving various stakeholders are required for improving farmers’ resilience. Capacity building at the community and government level is necessary to establish an enabling environment for resilience.
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