Remaining Poor on Rich Soil: Social Exclusion in Agricultural Development: A Case Study of Three Villages in South Amanuban – Timor, Indonesia

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Yulius Yasinto


This paper examines major factors causing poverty among poor communities in three villages in the region South Amanuban, Timor despite significant developments in the agricultural infrastructure. Based on the theoretical concept of social exclusion, three aspects have been analyzed: changes in livelihood patterns, changes in cosmic balance, and policy failures. This research determines firstly that the change from traditionally dry land agriculture to irrigated rice field cultivation has resulted in profound changes in the social life of peasants, and some of them lead to impaired social networks. Secondly, a change in cosmic balance has occurred, where the traditional triangular balance between the Lord of Heaven, the Lord of Earth, and Social Harmony has been changed into the Christian Lord replacing the Lord of Heaven; Technology replacing the Lord of the Earth; Human Resources as Tools of Production replacing Social Harmony. Lastly, public policy in agricultural development tends to provide little room for poor peasants to access enough land, let alone finance (credit) and market their production. This paper suggests that community development programs and agricultural public policies be based on small peasants and small scale agriculture, and more sustainable cultivation technology.


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