Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Sufficient and Sustainable Livelihood Via Community Economy: Case of Natural Farming Program in East Malaysia

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Sufficient and Sustainable Livelihood Via Community Economy: Case of Natural Farming Program in East Malaysia

Article excerpt


Community economy is an alternative mean for sustainable livelihood emphasized under the Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA) and Sufficient Economy Approach (SEA). Both approaches support the participatory development strategies which concern on the empowerment of marginalized people through an efficient utilization of local resources. The purpose of this article is to analyze the outcomes of the community-based economic activity executed through the natural farming programme in selected rural areas of East Malaysia. Our finding indicates that most participants have gained positive economic and social outcomes from the programme. The programme provides economic benefits such as reduction of household food expenditures, productive usage of household idle resources, increase of household income and saving. In addition, the programme also contributes to social benefits such as provide fresh vegetables, promote closeness among family members, increase self-satisfaction and happiness, increase closeness among community members, healthier feeling and increase agricultural skills and knowledge. The mean of each item show consistent trend that ranges between 3.68 (lowest) to 4.34 (highest). Therefore, the community economy conducted through the natural farming programme has benefited the rural area people in line with the idea of SLA and SEA.

Keywords: community economy, sustainable, sufficient, livelihood, natural farming

1. Introduction

Top-down approach is the prominent development strategies embraced by most developing countries since the Second World War (Kelly et al. 2012). Such development approach led to overwhelming focus on modernity and economic process. As a result, most development process had been rested upon the neoclassical economics paradigm which promotes industrialization, capital accumulation and mobilization of manpower (Kelly et al. 2012). Despite the massive development results, such practices also produced inequitable economic growth and ignore the well-being of people in rural areas. Therefore, participatory development attempts to overcome the cruel impact of the previous top-down development approaches.

Community economy is an alternative mean to operationalized the participatory development approach (Kelly et al. 2012). The concept was designed to promote the well being of the marginalized group in particular society. It suggests that the community can maintain sufficient and sustainable livelihood if they can reduce dependencies on external forces. Therefore, community economy is parallel with the Sufficient Economy Approach (SEA) which is concerned on improving the poor group well-being. In addition, community economy is also in line with Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA) that aims sustainable livelihood for local people.

According to Md. Anowar et al. (2012) community economy refers to the use of local resources to meet the local communities' needs rather than satisfying the outside market. Therefore, small projects which can bring people's lives into their own control had been established and operated according to the market rules (Jancius 2006). The communities conduct their economic activities in a way that all of them would play the role of producers and consumers simultaneously, thus ensuring higher economic independency, community self-sufficiencies and sustainable quality of life (Md. Anowaret al., 2012; Jancius, 2006; Kelly et al.. 2012; Lapeyre, 2010).

There are many productive activities that can be used to operate community economy namely agriculture, fisheries, dairy farms, forestry, locally produced products and small-scale economic projects. For example. Hart (2011) implicitly showed that the agricultural based project has provided livelihood for poor fanners in the rural village of South Africa. Besides, a study by Suwankitti and Pongquan (2010) also found that the operation of an agro-based community economy development activity in Bhuttavimut supported the adoption of sufficient livelihood approach for local people. …

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