Impact of the Introduction of Mechanized Agriculture on a Traditional Rice-Growing Community in Sarawak, Malaysia




Marcus Raja, Davin

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University of Guelph


The village of Bario, in Sarawak, Malaysia, has introduced modern technology to replace traditional methods of rice cultivation. The thesis describes historical and current resource use and rural-urban migration patterns in Bario, documents the mechanization process, and analyzes its impact on the livelihood strategies of landowners. The study combines the sustainable rural livelihood and asset index conceptual frameworks to describe the livelihood system of Kelabit landowners in Bario; to identify key drivers of livelihood change and evaluate their impact; to analyze the transformation from traditional practices to mechanized farming; and to derive policy lessons for project implementation in a rural setting. These objectives were addressed through surveys, interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation. This study demonstrates a need to gather information not only on farm production, but on livelihood strategies based on external factors such as social relations and remittances that have little to do with agricultural linkages.



Sarawak, Malaysia, Traditional rice-growing, Mechanized agriculture, Sustainable rural livelihood, Landowners