Main Article Content
Rural economic development strategy needs to be accomplished with distribution strategy which is aimed at development benefits targeted at low-income groups by giving major focus on the role of local knowledge in the community development strategy. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to examine the role of local knowledge in the socio-economic development of the rural Iban community in Sarawak. This study employed the qualitative approach through in-depth interviews and focus group discussion data collection techniques. A total of 20 rural Iban were interviewed in this study. A non-probability sampling technique through purposive sampling and snow-ball sampling was used. All data were analysed using the Nvivo software. Results reveal that local knowledge is the knowledge used as a response towards the inaccessibility to the use of technology, limited communication, and weak infrastructure facilities in their social environment. The role of local knowledge in this study refers to the added value and economic impact on their daily lives. Their local knowledge is integrative in nature, comprising aspects of language, social system, traditional practices, social interaction, rituals, and spirituality. The conclusion of the study is that the scientific knowledge that is obtained from the process of modernisation needs to be blended with the local knowledge and empowered to ensure that the survival of the rural Iban community in the agricultural sector as the main contributing sector towards their socio-economic development continues to remain relevant.
Keywords: local knowledge, community development, indigenous ethnic group, hill rice, modernisation
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