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Production costs and input substitution in Zimbabwe's smallholder agriculture

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Author Info

  • Dalton, Timothy J.
  • Masters, William A.
  • Foster, Kenneth A.

Abstract

In this study, we estimate production costs and elasticities of factor substitution for Zimbabwean smallholders, using a dual (cost function) approach with detailed data on prices paid and received by each of 65 farms across six survey sites over two years. We find that 95% of observed farm choices are consistent with optimal input use, and that there is moderate substitutability between labor, biochemical inputs and capital. These results indicate that farmers can substitute between factors as relative prices change, particularly to increase labor use as the rural population grows. By stratifying our sample, we investigate the degree to which production costs differ among the socioeconomic groups, tsting for higher costs among female-headed households (who might be subject to gender discrimination), resource-poor farmers without their own draft animals (who might have less timely operations), and isolated farms far from paved roads (who might have less access to markets and information). We find significant support only for the paved-roads effect, indicating the importance of rural infrastracture in determining production costs.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Blackwell in its journal Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (December)
Pages: 201-209

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Handle: RePEc:eee:agecon:v:17:y:1997:i:2-3:p:201-209

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Web page: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/agec

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Cited by:
  1. Seebens, Holger, 2008. "One size fits all? Female Headed Households, Income Risk, and Access to Resources," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43609, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. Maganga, Assa & Mehare, Abure & Ngoma, Kisa & Magombo, Elizabeth & Gondwe, Paul, 2011. "Determinants of smallholder farmers’ demand for purchased inputs in Lilongwe District, Malawi: evidence from Mitundu extension planning area," MPRA Paper 34590, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Obare, G. A. & Omamo, S. W. & Williams, J. C., 2003. "Smallholder production structure and rural roads in Africa: the case of Nakuru District, Kenya," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 245-254, May.
  4. Escobal, Javier, 2005. "The Role of Public Infraestructure in Market Development in Rural Peru," MPRA Paper 727, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Olasunkanmi M. Bamiro & Adebayo M. Shittu, 2009. "Vertical integration and cost behavior in poultry industry in Ogun and Oyo States of Nigeria," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 1-15.
  6. Tara McIndoe-Calder, 2011. "Network Effects and Land Redistribution: A Natural Experiment in Zimbabwe," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp352, IIIS.
  7. Phillips, J. G. & Deane, D. & Unganai, L. & Chimeli, A., 2002. "Implications of farm-level response to seasonal climate forecasts for aggregate grain production in Zimbabwe," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 351-369, December.

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