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Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of Underutilised Taro to Increase Food Security and Improve Livelihoods of Marginalised Communities Faced with Climate Change
Focus group discussions and interviews, Malaysia
Date: Feb - Aug 2020
MARDI and DOA conducted seven focus group discussions (FGDs) from February till August 2020. The target respondents (28 respondents in total) for these focus groups were composed of farmers from Johor and Selangor.

Participants shared their insights on common issues and challenges that are preventing them from being more successful.

Research methodology

Structured questionnaires were used for the FGDs and the data was analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).

The focus group discussions took place in Ijok, Sepang, Kuala Langat, Simpang Renggam and Batu Pahat (breakdown shown below). The participants (farmers) earned an average income of RM 2568.00 per month.
    Selangor
  • Three focus groups in Ijok, Sepang and Kuala Langat
  • Two focus groups in Sekinchan, Sabak Bernam
    Johor
  • One focus group in Simpang Renggam
  • One focus group in Batu Pahat
Summary of results and discussion

From the total respondents, 93% are male and 7% female. It is clear that conventional taro vegetable cultivation is dominated by men. The socio-economic characteristics of the respondents are found in the full report.

Most farmers are full time (82%) with nearly half attaining secondary school education (42.9%). (see chart below). Fortunately conventional taro cultivation does not require too technical an understanding.



Farmers' educational background


Around 60% of farmers own their agricultural land. The average area of taro cultivation is 1.95 (ha). The majority of farmers consider this agricultural activity as their main source of income. The breakdown of crop contribution to farmers' income is shown below.



Farmers' main sources of income


Most farmers are members of taro farming association where training and educational programmes are organised for their benefit.

Taro varieties

Traditional vegetables grown in Malaysia are mostly cultivated on a small scale, are freshly consumed, and can be found and collected from the wild. Taro can be categorized into two groups: edible taro and ornamental plant.

Through the FGDs, the main varieties cultivated by the farmers involved are keladi putih, keladi mawar, and keladi cina. There are other varieties grown as well (see full report below).

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