The humid tropical lowlands of the world contain a large number of feed resources that are underutilized. The monoculture of tree crops such as rubber, oil palm, and other, has been emphasized to date as is the case of North Sumatra in Indonesia. These crops are produced by different types of producers, such as commercial states and small holders. A barrier to successful smallholder production of tree crops is cash flow during the period of establishment to the maturity of the trees. Small ruminants are seen as a means to alleviate this constraint, and reduce the risks faced by producers. One way to benefit producers is to develop a production system for sheep production before trees start production. THe SR0CRSP is developing a breed and the supporting technological package to achive this goal. The role of sociology is to identify constraint faced by small producers in order to develop production strategies to introduce small ruminants.
Three areas of research were emphasized in North Sumatra. The first was labor constraints faced by six different types of producers linked to rubber plantations in North Sumatra. A second study looked at the role of women and children in small ruminant production comparing differing results and methodological approaches. A third area of analysis was the organizational barriers to diffusion of technologies. Analysis of the cooperative structure and relationships between farmers, the government parastatals and the worker cooperatives.
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