Co-Authors: Hanny Wijaya - MA, Samadhya Institute
In this paper we describe young people’s trajectories out of and into farming in the Javanese village Kaliloro, based on a life-course approach and data from field research in 1972-3, 1999-2000 and 2016-17.
In Kaliloro today, nearly all young men and women complete secondary school and many continue to some form of tertiary education. Many of them grow up unfamiliar with farming, and do not see their future in farming, wanting to work outside agriculture and outside the village. However, this was also the case with many of their parents (the current generation of farmers) and grandparents; young people’s aspirations are not a reliable guide to actual futures. For at least three generations young people have “voted with their feet”, moving to far-away destinations in search of employment. Many however return in their young adulthood (30s) to take over land, when it becomes available. Their livelihood pattern is one of pluriactivity: living from a small-holding plus other sources (animals, wage work, petty trade, services etc.). This explains why smallholders with tiny farms of 0.1 ha or less – which technocrats consider too small to be called “farms” -- have on the whole good-quality houses, TVs, motorbikes and mobile phones, and can send their children to secondary education and beyond.