Livelihood Strategies of the Iban Community in Pantu Sub-District, Sri Aman, Sarawak

Leha, Saliman (2021) Livelihood Strategies of the Iban Community in Pantu Sub-District, Sri Aman, Sarawak. PhD thesis, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

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Abstract

The overall aim of this research is to examine the livelihood strategies of an Iban community in Pantu Sub-District, Sri Aman, Sarawak. Specifically, this research analyses the determining factors in the diversification of the livelihood strategies of the Iban community in Pantu. Accordingly, this study also analyses the role of gender in the decision-making process to determine the livelihood strategies of the Iban community in Pantu besides evaluating the changing role of gender in affecting activities participated by both men and women in Mungguh Ubah and Kara Pantu. Finally, the study also explores how indigenous knowledge among the Iban community in Pantu Sub-District influences the choice of livelihood strategies in response to changes of their livelihood susceptibility to environmental alteration. This study is based on a mixed method approach. In-depth interviews were conducted with two Iban Penghulu and 12 Tuai Rumah, while structured interviews with 220 bilik family heads, and focus group interviews with 15 men and 15 women besides direct observation. The findings showed that the major income share of the Iban communities in Pantu Sub-District is from farming activities since it is the primary economic source of the households there. The study indicated that majority of the households have improved earnings through diversifying their livelihood strategies by adopting both farm and non-farm activities such as involving in small-scale trading, hunting, fishing, and forest collection. Despite the broader frame of livelihood diversification, farmers in Pantu widely practiced agricultural diversification and depended on livestock husbandry. Almost all farmers in Pantu Sub-District perform crop diversification by cultivating more than one type of crop on their farmland such as rice, a variety of fruits and vegetables, rubber, oil-palm, and pepper. In terms of the income distribution, no significant difference was observed among the Iban households in Pantu Sub-District where a 70% majority fall under the low-income (monthly income less than RM2,000) category. Most households secure adequate food for themselves (subsistence) and only sell the farm surplus at the local markets. Apart from agriculture, rural Iban households in Pantu still depend on natural resources for a living by involving in forest produce collection, hunting wild game and fishing. Some of the low-income households depend on remittances sent by their family members as their secondary income. An interesting finding of this study is that there are cross border informal trade activities due to Pantu’s proximity to the border between Sarawak and West Kalimantan. This creates an economic and socio-cultural effect especially in supplementing the labour shortage faced in carrying out various economic activities in Pantu, providing varieties of goods sold to the local Iban and cross border marriage. The results of the study also suggest that social and natural assets, which significantly influence household decisions in diversifying livelihood strategies, enable households to enhance food security and increase agricultural production by smoothing capital constraints. Next, the women in Pantu Sub-District are actively involved in agriculture as well as in non-farm activities such as handicraft making, running small enterprises and forest produce collection as their livelihoods. Women in Pantu do play triple roles. Except for domestic tasks, there is gender equality in livelihood decision making particularly on utilisation of livelihood assets there. Almost 96% of the Iban households admit the importance of indigenous knowledge (IK) in their livelihood strategies such as farming, handicraft making, forest resources collection, hunting and fishing. IK provides Iban communities with ideas for tackling local problems. The findings of this study provide several policy implications for promoting sustainable and effective development of rural households.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Thesis (PhD.) - Universiti Malaysia Sarawak , 2021.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Livelihood strategies, diversification, indigenous knowledge, gender role, livelihood assets.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities
Depositing User: LEHA ANAK SALIMAN
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2021 10:56
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2021 10:56
URI: http://ir.unimas.my/id/eprint/36589

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