Land-Use Change, Nutrition, and Gender Roles in Indonesian Farm Households


Chrisendo, Daniel. 2020. “Land-Use Change, Nutrition, and Gender Roles in Indonesian Farm Households.” Forest Policy and Economics 118.

Author: Daniel Chrisendo


Many tropical countries are experiencing massive land-use change with profound environmental and socioeconomic implications. In Indonesia, oil palm cultivation is rapidly expanding at the expense of more traditional crops – such as rubber and rice – and forest land. While environmental effects of the oil palm boom were analyzed in many studies, much less is known about social effects. Here, we analyze how oil palm cultivation by smallholder farmers is associated with nutrition through changing income and gender roles. The analysis uses panel data collected in Jambi Province, Sumatra, one of the hotspots of Indonesia's recent oil palm boom. Regression models show that oil palm cultivation is positively associated with nutrition and dietary quality. These associations are related to income gains that improve smallholders' access to nutritious foods from the market. Oil palm requires less labor than traditional crops, so a switch to oil palm could potentially free family labor for off-farm economic activities. We find that oil palm cultivation is positively associated with off-farm employment of male but not female household members, which may be related to unequal opportunities and social norms. Independent of oil palm cultivation, female off-farm employment is positively associated with nutrition, even after controlling for household income.

Keywords: oil palm, smallholder livelihoods, gender roles, female empowerment, nutrition, dietary quality

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Indonesia

Year: 2020

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at