Community biosecurity in West Timor, Indonesia
: the role of local communities and governments in managing Huanglongbing and other diseases and pests of citrus

  • Wayan Mudita

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    The concept of biosecurity is not yet part of the mainstream government policy in Indonesia. Instead, the government has adopted sectoral policies within which Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been designated as the system of crop protection. This approach had been praised for its contribution to Indonesia achieving self-sufficient in rice consumption although briefly. However, as decentralization makes local governments more autonomous, such policies may not remain a high priority for the local governments. An example is the refusal of district governments in West Timor to acknowledge the contribution of huanglongbing (HLB) disease to the decline of the local mandarin, despite reports that the disease has been observed in the region. This research was designed to understand how local governments address, and local communities respond to, emerging biosecurity threats to citrus biosecurity.

    This research employed a mixed methods approach to integrate different methods for data collection and analysis, and synthesis of the findings. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected in separate sessions in a transformative design: the results of a data collection session serving as the basis for designing the later sessions and, as the basis for conducting community engagement. Qualitative data were collected using in-depth and focus-group discussions and subjected to thematic analysis to identify key themes. Quantitative data were collected using surveys, field observation, and field and laboratory tests. These data were subjected first to descriptive statistical analysis and later to inferential statistical analysis using exploratory factors analysis and regression analysis techniques. In addition, mixed data collection was carried out by including open-ended questions in survey questionnaires and descriptive assessment during field observation.

    The results showed that a mismatch between the local government policy and local community aspirations has contributed to the decline of the local mandarin. The mandarin was predisposed to destructive pests and diseases due to climatic and edaphic factors, as well as cultivation and harvest practices. The spread of thesepests and diseases was accelerated by local government policy, especially the policy ofpromoting planting of grafted seedlings rather than planting seeds and, most importantly, the refusal to acknowledge the occurrence of HLB despite results of a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test confirming presence of the disease in the local mandarin. Regardless of this biosecurity governance, the majority of growers continued to use their own biosecurity approaches, with no trust that the government would listen to them. Citrus biosecurity is comprised of community efforts maintained through informal networks of networks involving bonding, bridging and linking ties for accessing the necessary resources, involving direct and closely related forms of social capital. Such community efforts could be conceptualized as a tetrahedron, which is part of a more generic structure of the social-ecological system that is dynamic over time and space through processes of exploitation, conservation, release, and reorganisation in maintaining its capacity, connectedness, and resilience. This research demonstrated that to improve community biosecurity of citrus in the region, there is a need to change biosecurity governance and engagement from being top-down policy driven to a more transformative-emancipatory engagement.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRuth Wallace (Supervisor), Bronwyn Myers (Supervisor) & Ian Falk (Supervisor)

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