Livelihood strategies of small-scale furniture producers in Jepara (Central Java) in facing tight market competition

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Furniture contributes significant value from total Indonesia forest products export. Jepara, Central Java is the most important furniture producer district. It was recorded in 2005 at least 15,271 business units of workshops, showrooms and warehouses of furniture industries employed 176,470 workers in Jepara. This paper describes the importance of furniture making activity to household income and its' comparison to other livelihood activities. Why most people in the district remains producing furniture in the tight competition and decreasing international market demand due to world economic crisis in the recent years. How should furniture producer compete with the increasing timber price? What is the most appropriate strategy to produce furniture that less threatening timber resource? The study conducted by applying household survey on the furniture producers and other household in Jepara district by using systematic sampling. Data were analyzed by using several statistical analyses. Most of producers remain producing furniture as it is not only source of income but as well as cultural identity. Their weakness is mostly in the strength of business management which includes marketing skill and financial management. Therefore, these skills have to be improved comprehensively especially to small scale producers.

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