Sriwijaya University, Faculty of Agriculture, Jln. Palembang-Prabumulih KM 32, Indralaya Campus, 30662 South Sumatra, Indonesia
Wildayana, E., 2017. Challenging constraints of livelihoods for farmers in the South Sumatra Peatlands, Indonesia. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 23 (6): 894–905
One of the most important socio-economic functions of peatlands can be used for agricultural cultivation. The research aimed to analyze the challenging constraints of livelihoods for farmers on the South Sumatra peatlands. The research results can be used for the Governmental inputs in making the management policy oriented to the community. The research was conducted on peatlands in OKI district and the sampling technique has been done by multi-stage method, followed by Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and interview by questionnaire. Evaluation of land suitability was carried out by matching method between growth requirements of plants with the survey data. The research resulted that the peatlands belong generally to lebak swamps (meaning free from tidal influences or non-pyritic layers) with the thickness of mostly less than 2.0 m and sapric to humic maturity levels. The diversification of livelihood sources can be grouped as rice farming, rubber plantation, oil palm plantations, forest extraction, and fisheries. The challenging constraints of livelihoods for farmers are divided into constraints in agronomic, technological and management, socio-economic aspects. The general peatland limiting factors for plant growth are especially inundation, inadequate rooting systems, and low nutrient availability. Land suitability for rice, rubber and oil palm was classified as “marginally suitable (S3)” with limiting factors of nr3 (nutrient availability at level 3); fh2 (danger of flood/inundation during planting and harvesting at level 3); rc3 (inhibited drainage at level 3). Land suitability for commodities with less human intervention is classified as “very suitable (S1)” with limiting factors of nr3 (nutrient availability at level 3) for forestry and xc2 (toxicity at the level 2) for fishery. These limiting factors (constraints) are global, comprehensive, integrated, and holistic and beyond the ability of farmers to manage them, thus it is needed proactive problems-solving by the governmental intervention to overcome.