Development at the Peri-Urban Area and Its Impact on Agricultural Activities: An Example from the Seberang Perai Region, Penang State, Malaysia

Taylor and Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 2013, 37 (7), pp. 834 - 856
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Urban areas are expanding into the countryside, changing the rural landscape and lifestyle of rural communities, and forming an urban-rural interface at these peri-urban areas. New develop- ments brought about by urbanization have important implications for the livelihoods and socioeconomic conditions of local commu- nities. At the peri-urban area, the future of agriculture, farmland, and farmers, especially in the face of massive urbanization, has become a topic of increasing global debate. Concerns have been polarized between two camps: a pessimistic view that peri-urban agriculture is in danger and an optimistic view that, despite the challenges, agriculture is still in practice and in some cases even growing. Several studies have addressed the current trajectories of agriculture in peri-urban areas; however, most of these stud- ies were undertaken in Western nations. In the context of Asian countries, like Malaysia, agricultural adaptation and persistence at peri-urban areas have not been examined. It has been taken for granted that urbanization always leads to the abandonment of agricultural land. The role of urbanization in generating alter- native agricultural enterprises that benefit from nearby urban markets has largely been ignored. This article aims to investigate the challenges and opportunities generated by urbanization and recent developments that have taken place in Malaysia. Using the Seberang Perai region of Penang State as a case study, our analysis reveals that farmers have adopted a range of strategies that could be explained using both positive and negative adaptation of Johnston and Bryants (1987) model. This study moves forward the litera- ture on the future of agriculture in peri-urban areas, particularly in developing countries.
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