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Indonesian farmers’ incomes going up in smoke to buy cigarettes

21 7 1

THE fact that most Indonesian farmers smoke is perhaps unsurprising. What is surprising, however, is the high proportion of household expenditure farmers allocate for cigarette consumption.

A survey was conducted from August to October 2017 in the Garut District of West Java Province, Indonesia, as part of research into risk-coping mechanisms implemented by Indonesian farmers to minimise the impacts of climate change. Using stratified random sampling, 180 farmers were chosen as respondents; of these approximately 78 percent were found to consume cigarettes. It revealed some troubling findings about the consumption pattern of rural households.

The study found that cigarettes take up a staggering 13.7 percent of total household budgets.

SEE ALSO: Big Tobacco is still king in Indonesia

It should be noted that in this sample, the vast majority of farmers were male, the head of the household, and came from low-income smallholder families. This means that cigarette consumption reflects an unequal distribution of income among household members because they are overwhelmingly consumed and enjoyed by the husband.

Interestingly, the survey found no relationship between the smoking habits and length of formal education of farmers. Smoking behaviour was distributed evenly among less educated and better educated respondents.

The very high proportion of income spent on smoking makes it difficult for farmers to accumulate the assets that could be used for investment to improve household........

© Asian Correspondent