Urgency of Social Capital to Improve the Resilience of Independent Oil Palm Farmers in Managing Oil Palm Plantations in Peat Areas: Lessons from Indonesia





Social Capital, Social Network, Farmer Group, Social Norms


Objective: This research focuses on studying the social capital of oil palm farmers in Sidomulyo Village, Wanaraya District, Barito Kuala District, South Kalimantan Province.


Theoretical Framework: The study aims to achieve two main objectives: firstly, to identify the social capital possessed by independent oil palm farmers; secondly, to describe how they maintain this social capital.


Method: Qualitative research methods were employed to gain a profound understanding of the social capital that supports the success of independent smallholders in managing oil palm plantations. The study was conducted in Sido Mulyo village, Wanaraya district, Barito Kuala Regency, South Kalimantan Province. Informants, serving as sources of information, were selected using purposive sampling techniques. Data collection involved observation, in-depth interviews with selected informants, and daily records, which played a crucial role in this research. The obtained data will be subjected to phenomenological analysis. The study revealed two key findings: first, various forms of social capital, and second, how this social capital is utilized.


Results and Discussion: The identified forms of social capital include: (1) the social networks established by farmers with middlemen to sell palm oil to processing companies, (2) their membership in peasant groups, and (3) the work ethic exhibited by farmers as transmigrants. The utilization of social capital for their progress as farmers involves: (1) maintaining relationships in social networks to secure favorable palm oil prices and access to financial capital, (2) leveraging farmer groups to access fertilizer subsidies and protect against the threat of land fires, and (3) employing social norms to foster mutual assistance in preserving road access to oil palm plantations.


Research Implications: This research contributes to understanding the various capitals owned by smallholders in oil palm plantation exploitation and the use of social capital for their success in plantation management palm oil. This model can be a reference for communities who want to get similar success in the development of oil palm plantations and can be done also in other locations that have the same land structure.


Originality/Value: Social capital plays a crucial role in the success of independent farmers managing oil palm plantations. Several conclusions have been drawn regarding social capital in the management of oil palm plantations by independent smallholders. Firstly, the forms of social capital owned by independent oil palm plantation farmers include: (1) social networks established by farmers with middlemen for selling oil palm to processing companies, (2) membership in farmer groups, (3) the work ethic possessed by farmers as transmigrants, and (4) the social norms embraced by transmigrant farmers. Secondly, the utilization of social capital for their progress as farmers is carried out through: (1) maintaining relationships in social networks to secure palm oil prices and access capital, (2) utilizing farmer groups to access fertilizer subsidies and safeguard against the threat of land fires, and (3) applying social norms to foster mutual assistance in maintaining oil palm plantation infrastructure and addressing and preventing palm oil plantation fires.


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How to Cite

Hidayat, Y., Nur, R., & Nurdiyana, T. (2024). Urgency of Social Capital to Improve the Resilience of Independent Oil Palm Farmers in Managing Oil Palm Plantations in Peat Areas: Lessons from Indonesia. Revista De Gestão Social E Ambiental, 18(9), e05103. https://doi.org/10.24857/rgsa.v18n9-031