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Sumule, Agus Irianto 1994 The Technology Adoption Behaviour of the Indigenous People of Irian Jaya: A Case Study of the Arfak Tribals, PhD Dissertation, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
    © Agus Irianto Sumule 1994. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.

     A number of development projects have been introduced to the province of Irian Jaya since its integration with Indonesia in 1963 as part of the effort to improve the well- being of its indigenous population which is generally considered as lag behind people from other Indonesian provinces. Yet up to now, very few studies have been conducted to assess the extent to which new values and technologies introduced by those projects have been adopted by the Irian Jaya indigenous people.
     This study aims to investigate the technology adoption behaviour of the indigenous people of Irian Jaya. Arfak tribals of the Manokwari District were selected specifically for this purpose. Originally from the Arfak mountain area, these people are shifting cultivators and semi-nomadics. To improve their welfare, they have been exposed to two major agricultural development projects: transmigration (where they are involved as local transmigrants) and the oilpalm Nucleus Estate Smallholder Scheme, or oilpalm-NESS for short (where they are involved as smallholders).
     Data was obtained by employing two approaches of research, i.e. the field survey and a series of workshops. The field survey involved 92 Arfak tribals who originated from two tribal groups: Hatam and Meah. All were local transmigrants, and 42 of them were also smallholders in the oilpalm-NESS. Thirty three Javanese transmigrants were also interviewed as the control group. Minor surveys were conducted for the purpose of learning Arfak traditional agricultural practices, involving 30 farmers in their traditional villages. Interviews were also conducted with key people such as government officials, missionaries, and certain Arfak prominent figures.
     Ten innovations were selected to be used in studying the technology adoption behaviour of the Arfak tribals. Those originating from the transmigration projects were: rice farming, soybean farming, handhoeing, pesticides, fertilisers, membership in the village cooperative enterprise (KUD), and cattle raising, whereas from the oilpalm-NESS were: fertilisers, weeding practice around the oilpalm trunks, and membership in a farmers' group.
     Results of the field survey were then presented back to the Arfak tribals and other key people through the undertaking of a series of workshops. Three levels of workshops were undertaken. The first level involved two workshops for both Meah and Hatam tribals. The second level was a workshop for the field officers and Javanese transmigrants. The third level was a workshop at the district level attended by various government and non-government people. Not only for the purposes of reconfirmation, rectification and enrichment of the study results, the workshops also aimed to initiate changes for the development of Arfak tribals through consultative/participative dialogue.
     In general, it can be concluded there was little difference between Hatam and Meah tribals with regard to their current technology adoption behaviour. However, analysis shows that patterns of technology adoption behaviour of the groups as a whole (Arfak tribals), varies from one innovation to another. On the one hand, their adoption of rice and soybean farming, as well as pesticides and fertilisers in the transmigration project can be considered as significantly low, since only 1.1, 6.5, 0 and 1.1 percent of them were utilising these technologies respectively. On the other hand, their adoption of handhoeing practice, membership in KUD, and cattle raising were reasonably high, since there were 39.1 and 56.5 percent practicing those technologies respectively, and all Arfak tribals (22.8% of the respondents) who had access to cattle credit were still raising cattle. The adoption of oilpalm technologies was even more phenomenal as all those involved as smallholders in oilpalm-NESS were applying fertilisers and weeding practice around the oilpalm trunks, and 57.1 percent of them still retain their membership status in the oilpalm farmers' group. This indicates that basically Arfak tribals are responsive to change. That almost all of the Arfak tribals failed to cultivate rice and soybean and to utilise pesticides and fertilisers in the transmigration project should not be interpreted as being incapable of adopting new commercial and complex agricultural technologies, since the same people participate most favourably in the oilpalm-NESS project -- an agricultural project which is also new, fully commercial, and complex. In the workshops the Arfak tribals even claimed they were prepared to cultivate introduced crops such as soybean and rice as long as capital in forms of credit and extension support be provided.
     It appears that project characteristics play the most central role in determining the technology adoption behaviour of the Arfak tribals. If the project able: (i) to provide support facilities such as input provisioning, marketing, and transportation of the products; (ii) to modify the innovation to match farmers' knowledge and socio-economic situation; and (iii) to provide permanent and practical extension service, then its innovation will be more likely to be adopted. These characteristics were part of the oilpalm-NESS project, but not by the transmigration project. By the same token, Arfak tribals' personal/household characteristics such as age, personal education, household size, household education, cosmopoliteness, composite leadership status, cash income, extension contact, duration of involvement in the transmigration project, and contact with Javanese transmigrants collectively have only a minor role in determining the technology adoption behaviour of the Arfak tribals.
     If the Javanese transmigrants were found to have a significantly higher adoption score for all technologies introduced in the transmigration project, it is simply because they practiced those technologies before joining the transmigration project.
     The undertaking of the workshops has provided various benefits. Firstly, besides reconfirming most of the findings of the field survey, there were cases where implications of the research were rejected by the Arfak tribals. Secondly, new insights have been learnt from other parties also involved in the development of the Arfak tribals. It was learnt that for a development to be succesful among Arfak tribals, it needs to provide: (i) a permanent and practical type of extension service -- implying that Training and Visit systems of agricultural extension are incompatible with the situation of the Arfak tribals, and (ii) efforts to introduce better agricultural practices should be combined with "developing what people already have". Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, is that the participants of the district workshops were able to produce recommendations regarding problems of the development of Arfak tribals, how those problems should be solved, and what institutions/persons should be involved in initiating the suggested action. The recommendations were sent to 60 key individuals/institutions for their reference in undertaking the development activities for the Arfak tribals. Even though it was realised that many of recommendations would take time and extra effort to be implemented, to date, one institution has responded positively to this exercise.
     As a whole, the majority of the Arfak tribals perceived their socio-economic welfare to have improved as a result of involvement in the transmigration and/or oilpalm- NESS. In the transmigration project, this positive perception will in the future be determined by to what extent they make use of the economic opportunities offered by the project.


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