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Preserving Agricultural Lands in the Peri-urban Regions of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. From Ethics to Subsistence and Speculation

1 Gadjah Mada University, Faculty of Geography, Department of Geographic Information Sciences and Regional Development, Bulaksumur, Yogyakarta, INDONESIA

Abstract. The paper aims at assessing the motivation of farming households to retain their farms and farming activities in the peri-urban area of Yogyakarta. The study focuses on farm households with agricultural lands located along the main roads where the highest pressure for farm land conversion is prevailing. The research shows that farmers cultivating the remaining lands are facing various problems related to incompatibility of the new environment and inconsistencies of policy implementation. Among many site factors that constrain farming in the peri-urban regions are: the irregularity of water supply due to damage or abandonment of irrigation canals, polluted farm lands by the nearby factories, and trapped farm lands in between taller buildings leading to low agricultural production. Meanwhile, policies to retain agricultural lands are not continuously implemented as it is evident from the higher taxes for all lands along the main roads, the lack of maintenance of irrigation canals and the poor law enforcement on illegal farm conversion. Motivation of farmers retaining farm lands can be grouped into three categories, namely: cultural, ethical and survival reasons. Culturally, lands inherited from parents are highly valued as heritage (pusaka) that cannot be converted into other uses, ethically the ultimate use of rice field (sawah) is to produce rice as staple food, and other farm households retain their farm lands as a source of their subsistence in combination with other sources of livelihood.

K e y w o r d s:  Yogyakarta, Indonesia, peri-urban, retaining farm lands, ethical factors, economic factors