Malaysia:
Adaptation of livelihood strategies inlight of rural change and development

by | Oct 6, 2023

Sarawak is a state in Malaysia where tradition and development converge. Economic growth in larger cities is stimulating rural to urban migration, mainly by the younger generation, causing significant demographic differences across State.

At the same time, Malaysian history is full of examples where Natural Resource Management have been neglected in favour of large-scale commercial agriculture and logging, and in a time where the demand for oil palm has exploded, it is an enticing opportunity for small rural communities to either start a plantation as a small-holder or via a state-sponsored joint venture.

This case study is set in a small village of Menuang, and looks to answer how such external factors deter-mine the livelihood strategies of the community. By the use of an interdisciplinary approach, focusing heavily on interviews with local population, and applying the Sustainable Livelihood Framework, the study has identified how both the community as a whole and individual households have adapted a large range of livelihood strategies by having access to off-farm income and newly developed infrastructure. At the same time, the community has been extremely challenged by negotiating the access of their land with oil palm developers as well as the two national parks established nearby.

You can read the full case study by Sanya and her fellow students here: