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'Community Management of Biosecurity: Overview of some Indonesian studies’ (English language ed)

Publication Type  Journal Article
Year of Publication  2008
Authors  Falk, I.; Surata, K.; Mudita, W.; Martiningsih, E.; Myers, B.
Journal Title  Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts
Journal Date  06/2008
Publisher  Kritis, Indonesia and Learning Communities, Australia
ISSN Number  1329-1440

‘Plant Biosecurity is a set of measures designed to protect a crop, crops or a sub-group of
crops from emergency plant pests at national, regional and individual farm levels’ (Plant
Health Australia, 2005).


This research asks what ‘set of measures’ can communities
adopt that will assist in the identification and management of the plant pests and diseases
that affect their food supplies and livelihoods? How can these measures, or strategies, be
described and how can communities engage with the issues and knowledge about plant
biosecurity in sustainable ways? Rephrased, the question for this research is: How do
communities acquire new knowledge and develop new strategies for identifying and
managing the plant pests and diseases that affect their food supplies and livelihoods?
Literature scans and preliminary discussions between Indonesian and Australian
institutions and communities about biosecurity established an urgent need to understand
its intricacies and applicability, especially in relation to community management of


The term ‘biosecurity’ is relatively new in Indonesia. In order to increase
knowledge of ways communities can engage and manage plant biosecurity effectively, a
mixed methods quantitative and qualitative study was conducted in three diverse sites
involving a total of 185 respondents. Quantitative analyses at a coastal village in West
Timor (Site C) showed that Biosecurity awareness, knowledge, and actions are related to
social capital. Social capital variables involved in the relations are unique for each of
these biosecurity aspects. The results of qualitative analyses showed that local (and
Indigenous) knowledge is a vital factor in the way communities view biosecurity, and
indeed the ways they can engage with new knowledge and practices associated with
managing pests and diseases. However, local knowledge is only one part of the story. The
actual structure of a community – its organizations and network connections – and the
processes the leadership engages across those structures – make a lie of the apparent
similarities in community governance structures, such as the Desa (village) and Banjar
(sub-administrative body) with their respective Heads. This has potentially dramatic
impacts on engagement and management of new knowledge and strategies. The study
shows that there is a clear need for additional research into the relationships between the
two processes and structures of communities and the ways new knowledge and outside
knowledge are acted upon. This is shown to be especially important in relation to how
policy on plant biosecurity can be implemented effectively.

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