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From replantation to diversification : oil palm for rubber smallholders in Indonesia

Penot E., Lecomte J.. 2002. In : IRRDB. International rubber research and development board. s.l. : s.n., 31 p..

The case of smallholder rubber in Indonesia provides a relatively good example of perennial crops being planted as generators of capital and combine the following characteristics: i) capital is generated over a considerable number of years (the lifespan of rubber is 35 years and may be extented to 40/45 years, ii) saving capacity is generated for reproduction of productive capital and further investment, iii) accumulated capital is transferable to the next generation, and finally, iv) assets are created that can be sold on the market. The future of rubber relies on i) the transformation of ageing jungle rubber into more productive clonal rubber systems and ii) the planting of new clonal plantations including replanting old project clonal plantations (renewal of productive capital). In this paper we look at the different perennial cropping systems currently used by rubber farmers in Indonesia, how return to labour of some perennial crops triggers both technical change and changes in the farming system iself, which in turn, leads to diversification. Problems and constraints for smallholders in replanting rubber are reviewed, leading to the identification of factors that affect the decision about replanting. Farm incomes are assessed. Eventually farmers' strategies and possible future pathways are explored. The hypothesis of clonal rubber based systems funded by oil palm incomes is very probable as oil piam will provide a significant source of capital, a saving capability, an increase of household patrimony (housing mainly as well as land added value trhough plantations establishment) and, least, the capacity for investment in traditionnal crops (rubber in monoculture or improved agroforestry systems) or in new alternatives (pepper...).

Mots-clés : hevea brasiliensis; elaeis guineensis; caoutchouc; indonésie

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