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Does land fragmentation affect farm performance? A case study from Brittany

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  • Latruffe, Laure
  • Piet, Laurent

Abstract

Agricultural land fragmentation is widespread and may affect farmers’ decisions and impact farm performance, either negatively or positively. We investigated this impact for the western region of Brittany, France, in 2007. To do so, we regressed a set of performance indicators on a set of fragmentation descriptors. The performance indicators (production costs, yields, revenue, profitability, technical and scale efficiency) were calculated at the farm level using Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) data, while the fragmentation descriptors were calculated at the municipality level using data from the cartographic field pattern registry (RPG). The various fragmentation descriptors enabled us to account for not only the traditional number and average size of plots, but also their geographical scattering. We found that farms experienced higher costs of production, lower crop yields and lower profitability where land fragmentation (LF) was more pronounced. Total technical efficiency was not found to be significantly related to any of the municipality LF descriptors used, while scale efficiency was lower where the average distance to the nearest neighbouring plot was greater. Pure technical efficiency was found to be negatively related to the average number of plots in the municipality, with the unexpected result that it was also positively related to the average distance to the nearest neighbouring plot. By simulating the impact of hypothetical consolidation programmes on average pre-tax profits and wheat yield, we also showed that the marginal benefits of reducing fragmentation may differ with respect to the improved LF dimension and the performance indicator considered. Our analysis therefore shows that the measures of land fragmentation usually used in the literature do not reveal the full set of significant relationships with farm performance and that, in particular, measures accounting for distance should be considered more systematically.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for European Policy Studies in its series Factor Markets Working Papers with number 151.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eps:fmwppr:151

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  1. Gonzalez, X.P. & Marey, M.F. & Alvarez, C.J., 2007. "Evaluation of productive rural land patterns with joint regard to the size, shape and dispersion of plots," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-3), pages 52-62, January.
  2. Pham Van Hung & T. Gordon MacAulay & Sally P. Marsh, 2007. "The economics of land fragmentation in the north of Vietnam ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 51(2), pages 195-211, 06.
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  4. Blarel, Benoit, et al, 1992. "The Economics of Farm Fragmentation: Evidence from Ghana and Rwanda," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(2), pages 233-54, May.
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  6. Kawasaki, Kentaro, 2010. "The costs and benefits of land fragmentation of rice farms in Japan," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 54(4), December.
  7. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
  8. Jabarin, Amer S. & Epplin, Francis M., 1994. "Impacts of land fragmentation on the cost of producing wheat in the rain-fed region of northern Jordan," Agricultural Economics: The Journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 11(2-3), December.
  9. Guang Wan & Enjiang Cheng, 2001. "Effects of land fragmentation and returns to scale in the Chinese farming sector," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 183-194.
  10. A. Parikh & K. Shah, 1994. "Measurement Of Technical Efficiency In The North-West Frontier Province Of Pakistan," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 132-138.
  11. Gonzalez, X. P. & Alvarez, C. J. & Crecente, R., 2004. "Evaluation of land distributions with joint regard to plot size and shape," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 31-43, October.
  12. Kentaro Kawasaki, 2010. "The costs and benefits of land fragmentation of rice farms in Japan ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 54(4), pages 509-526, October.
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