Matchmaking Projects with Communities: Analysing whether Livelihood Improvement Initiatives Meet the Needs and Constraints of Poor Fishers in West Sumatra
Stanford, Richard James
Bengen, Dietriech G.
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Despite a fast growing economy, many Indonesians still live in poverty or are vulnerable to falling into poverty. Fishing is an economic sector closely associated with poverty and there has been a range of initiatives aimed at improving livelihoods and reducing poverty amongst poor fishers. Concerns remain that these initiatives have failed to target the right people in the right way. In response to this concern, this research based in the province of West Sumatra uses interviews in 25 fishing communities, coupled with secondary data, to evaluate; 1) the sectors of the fishing industry that the poor operate in and what the relationship is between poverty and fishing, 2) the factors that enable or constrain their livelihoods and 3) whether livelihood improvement programs address these factors. The analysis highlights that poor fishers are growing in number and are mainly labourers, small boat owners and small-scale processors/traders. Poverty in fishing is not significantly correlated with fishing dependency but is significantly correlated with poverty in the agricultural sector. Fishing is a poor economic sector, but incidences of poverty are less when other economic sectors, for example the service and financial sector, are strong. Thirty one enabling and constraining factors were identified and grouped according to six asset categories. Interviews with 151 households from a variety of backgrounds in two fishing communities were analysed using multi-dimensional scaling. Vessel owners possess higher physical, financial and human capital than crew members but that there was no difference in the natural, social and institutional fields. Institutional support across all sectors scored poorly. Government programs tend to bridge the gap between crew members and owners by providing physical capital without necessarily addressing the underlying financial and human capital limitations that labourers face. The research concludes with an explanation of the main routes out of poverty for a poor fisher and recommendations and how future livelihood improvement programs can better address the needs and constraints of the poor.
- DT - Fisheries