2. The Socio-economic Differentiation of Land-cultivating Families

Land cultivators are very inhomogeneous; they have different intersts, motives, living conditions, and resource endowments. Before dealing with the attitude towards sustainability, it is necessary to differentiate between the most important socioeconomic categories among land cultivators.

Over the last forty years, the social, economic and political framework conditions have changed agriculture; size of farms decreased because of inheritance, land reforms, and population increased. New technologies have been introduced in agriculture which is now interwoven with other sectors. Non-agricultural development created employment apportunities and caused migration. These and similar factors are more marked in one region than in another. But the general result is an increasing differentiation in agriculture. Forty years ago, apart from a Smiled number of plantations, agriculture consisted of peasent familiy farms, where the family members applied all their labour to the farm and aH family member lived off the produce of the farm. The usually small farm was the centre of common interst of all family members, the basis of their existence, and their security of subsistence. The family's expectations were homogeneous and farm-centered. Differences in farm sizes and ownership were the main reason for difference in the standard of living.

Contrary to former times, it is necessary to differentiate between two types of farm households:

  1. Those who have enough land to enable them to earn their living from agricufcure. These households usually concentrate their efforts on farming and take advantage of the possibilities offered by modern technology. They want to increase their incame by practising good cultivation. This catagory consists of
    • large landowners (landlords, plantations)
    • progressive farmers'
    • economic holding.'
  2. Those who do not have enaough land to be able to ear their living through agricultural activities. They try to improve their living conditions by taking up non-agricultural activities. Their ggoal is to achieve a better income, wherever it may come from. Their interst in agriculture is often limited, partly enforced because of the lack of alternatives. Especially the young people in these households look for means of livelihood outside agriculture. This categories consists of
    • households with multiple employment
    • households with household production
    • households of aged people
    • marginal existences.

Table 1. Sicioeconomic Types of Land-cultivating Households

  1. Households with enough land
    - large landowners (landlords, plantations)
    - progressive farmers
    - economic holding.
  2. Households without enough land
    - households with multiple employment
    - households with household production
    - households of aged people
    - marginal existences.

In greater detail, the different type can be characterized as follows:

  • Large Landowners (landlords, plantations)
    Their number decreased considerably because of land reforms, measures to limit the impact of future land reforms, and inheritance. As these people usually want to maintain their standard of living after their tended property has been reduced, they make use of the possibilities of modem technologies and intensify land use in self-cuRivation. Many 'pettylandtords' become progressive farmers. However, there are exceptions; some still cultivate with shareeroppers is in the old days. Plantations are units producing export crops, mostly perennials, and usually include processing in their activities.
    Production is mainly concentrated on one crop and is organiized on a semi-industrial basis. Management is of high standard, while the social situation of plantation warkers is often miserable.
  • Progressive Farmers
    This group is an offspring of the 'Green Revolution.' Small landlords and active family farmers used the possibilities of acchieving a high income in agriculture bu applying new technologies. They practise market oriented modern agriculture that ensures a high incomeT Erioridmic power leads to political power. This group has many representative in district and provincial assemblies.
  • Economic Holding
    These are economically sound family farms of sufficient size. Often, they have been in the hands of a family over generations. Usually, all family members are interested in farming along modern lines as this yields a good income.
    As for the other types without enough land to support the family, the sitiation is quite different. Since they do not have sufficient land, they have to use all their resources to secure survival. Often, this accurs outside agriculture. Therefore, those are not households which apply all their labour on the farm, live off the proceeds of farm, and whose members facus their interst on the farm.
    These groups have increased considerably in number. In detail, they can be characterized as follows:
  • Households with multiple employment
    Difference in family and farm structure, in the region's resource endowment and the level of economic development have resulted in different types of multiple employment:
  • Individual Income Combination
    The cultivator himself takes up non-agricultural work or works as an agricultural labourer. As it is difficult to conbine both activities, this is often only a transitory arragement, except in the case of rural service professions.
  • Houshold Income Combination
    One or more sons take up non-agricultural employment or work as agricultural labourers and give part of their saraly to the family. They may work locally or in distant places, on a permanent basis or whenever work is offered. Others devide their working life in to sections. Up to the age of about 45 years, men work outside the village, while their fathers operat the farm. When the letter becomes too old, the son takes over cultivation, but often his children are of working age at that time.
  • Extended Family Economy
    Nuclear families still maintain dose social and economic ties even after some of the branches have migrated. Those living in the cities are given foodstuffs, and pre-school shHdren live on the farm of remitances, not regularly, but whenever needed for investments.
  • Households with Household Production
    Not everybody will find a job outside agriculture, and spmetimes there is not suitable person in the family. The strategy left to these households is to produce by using the available resources (weaving mats, gathering firewood, making ropes, producing charcoal, renting animals) or to avoid expenses by assuming maintance work and repair of buildings, tolls and clothing which, in other households, are assigned to speaalsts. Often, this is a transitory period until a child is old enough to take up non-agricultural work. Usually, income is low in these houssholds, and, therefore, cultivation is extensive. Many households experience a down ward trend.
  • Households of Aged People
    Here, all children have migrated or died. Since other means of social security are lacking, the old couple has to continue cultivation as long as its shrinking working capacity allows. Cultivation is extensive, with much disinvestment, and finaBy the land has to be rented out.
  • Marginal Existences
    For personal reasons or because of their location, these houshold have not succeded in finding means of earning an additional income. They often live in extreme poverty and have to sell their land gradually. Cultivation is done without investment, and yield are low. They desperately fight for survival by whatever means. Some try to migrate to cities in the hope of a better living; most of them cannot even afford this.
    This breakdown of land-cultivating households according to sotioeconomic catagories the wide variety of today's agriculture regarding the degree to which the family employs its labour on the farm and lives off the proceeds, regarding is interest in farming, the fucntbns of land cultivation, and its goals for the future of its cultivation. Some of these housholds want to make a living from the land, others, only part self-sufficiency or just housing and rural life opportunities, financial means for education and migration cost, insurance in case of unemployment, securing livelihood for old days, etc. Especially the young people on too small farms are other looking for non-agricultural means of living. Not every farm-boy is happy to continue farming, as in the old days. He may do so but often he is forced by the lack of alternatives. In order to give an idea of the number of households belonging to each catagory and their cultivated area, the author made-in the absence of relevant official statistics - a rough estimate for Pakistan 3) which is presented in Table 2.1 take Pakistan as an examples because I am not familier enough with Indonesia to be able to elaborate such an estimate for thet country. However, I invite the sotio-economists in Indonesia to work out such an estimates. This would be very helpful in dealing with many questions.


Table 2. Number and Cultivated Area of Various Socioeconomic Catagories of Land Cultivators in Pakistan (in 1000) (Estimate).



3) As far as possible, the author used the Official Statistics of Agriculture In addition, he estimates on the basis of this rather intimate familiarity with Pakistani agriculture as a result of 59 visits between 1961 and 1992, and the information obtained from more than 20 PhD studies he organized in Pakistan. The figures should be taken for what they are-estimates. For the argument, it does nor really matter whether a catagory is 5 or even 10 percent larger or smaller.