Land Ownership




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Land Ownership in Sulawesi

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Sulawesi is an attractive region in central Indonesia. The area has been popular for various reasons such as unique cultural activities and diffrent economic policies. Geographically, the area is considered to be as large as the Great Britain but hold a very small population of people. Sulawesi contains only 7% of the entire Indonesias population and 10% of the countrys land. Majority of the people living in the area are small-scale farmers while a few practice in other fields. However, majority of individuals in the region live in poverty due to lack of economic resources to enhance their lives. Being small scale farmers, the farmers rarely produce enough food for the surrounding population and individuals living in the cities. Sulawesi consists of four provinces with different levels of economic growth, education, and population. It is also noted that 80% of the population are Muslims while the rest 20% are evenly distributed among other religions such as Buddhists, Christianity, Confucians, among others. The land ownership system has been widely blamed as the leading cause of high poverty level in the region. Land ownership queries have also reduced the regions capability of producing enough quantity of food for both domestic consumption and export. The given essay aims at discussing how capitalist relations of land ownership and access to land have disposed of different groups of people in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

One of the factors that have affected the relationship between land ownership and access in Sulawesi is the land ownership policies in the region. Majority of the local people view the aspect of owning land as a factor that brings respect and pride. Land is considered as a vital asset traditionally; hence owning a piece is everyones plan. Therefore, people find it difficult to sell or transfer a given piece of land to a third party due to their traditional beliefs on land. These incidents happen despite the ability of the owner to use the land productively. Initially, majority of the small scale-farmers in the region are poor hence cannot produce enough quantity of food to feed the urban population as well as for export. Technically, this is due to lack of modern farming equipment and fertilizers due to high poverty levels. However, decisions not to sell or to transfer land to the interested third parties, most of whom are middle-class citizens also affects them. Initially, it denies them an opportunity to produce enough quantity as they have the necessary resources (Li, 2014).

The increase of the capitalist landowners who denies the minority middle class access to their land for higher production affects the region negatively. One of these effects is to widen the gap between the rich and the poor. For instance, the economically-abled citizens are forced to live in the nearby urban centers while the poor remains in their lands where they continue practicing small-scale farming. The regions agricultural potential is also wasted as the property owners cannot utilize their properties for optimum production. Being a highland surrounded by several rain forests, the region is capable of producing high-quality rice, sugar canes, and horticultural products eligible for exports. The attitude on the farmland ownership has also affected the region by promoting primitive tradition among the farmers. The belief that ownership of farm in the area enhances one dignity continues to render the farming community as poor despite the high agricultural potential of the area (Li, 2014).

A capital relationships created by the indigenous people from the highland that were intended to privatize their common land also affected the population differently. Most of the individuals in the Sulawesi reached the decision in order to plant cacao, which is a boom plant in the region. Majority of indigenous people made the decision in order to end isolation and poverty among their family members. However, various groups of persons were disposed of differently by the decision. Some succeeded while other failed and continued to languish in poverty. The development brought more hatred and difference among the Highlanders as both the beneficiary and looser were neighbors and kin and not strangers. The losers developed intense hatreds toward the beneficiaries as the results did not favor them as per their expectations.

However, communities in this region have never been modern despite the various technological advancement and adoption of universal education globally. Most of the farmers in the area still practice farming through traditional techniques that cannot produce food in large quantities. Indigenous people also observe their ancient traditions strictly. The minority who practice fishing from the region also uses traditional canoes in their daily economic activities despite significant advancements in the fishing industry. However, one of the major reasons why communities in the region have failed to modernize is due to isolation. Sulawesi has remained among the regions with a very scarcely distributed population in Indonesia. The area contains extensive indigenous forests and mountainous landscapes that have limited the access to the area from the outside world. High poverty levels have also played an important role in the failure of Sulawesi to modernize. Traditional beliefs especially on land ownership have jeopardized the regions economic development hence lack of enough resources to support social development such as modern education.

In conclusion, capitalist relationship of land ownership and access remains one of the major challenges affecting Sulawesi area in Indonesia. The belief that farmland ownership enhances ones social status in terms of respect and honor has played an important role in improving poverty. High level of poverty among inhabitants is among the major reasons why communities in the region have failed to modernize.

Reference Li, T. M. (2014). Lands End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier. London: Duke University Press.

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