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Identifying the Factors that Influence Small-Scale Farmers' Transaction Costs in Relation to Seed Acquisition

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  • Lone B. Badstue
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    Abstract

    Using an ethnographic approach, this study explores small-scale farmers’ perceived transaction costs in relation to maize seed acquisition in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca. These farmers have different needs and require seed of diverse maize types with multiple traits in particular combinations. Formal seed distribution has yet to develop in this region and farmers depend mostly on informal seed sources. Issues of information about maize seed, seed transaction negotiation and enforcement are examined from a small-scale farmer perspective through the use of qualitative data. Results show that farmers’ perceived transaction costs are low to negligible in most cases where seed transactions take place locally, and trust is indicated as a factor which serves to reduce transaction costs to a minimum. Though maybe not a transaction cost in the theoretical sense, the risk of crop failure due to inadequate seed is a main concern for farmers in relation to seed transactions.

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    File URL: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/007/ae126e/ae126e00.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA) in its series Working Papers with number 04-16.

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    Length: 47 pages
    Date of creation: 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0416

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    Postal: Agricultural Sector in Economic Development Service FAO Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00153 Rome Italy
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    Web page: http://www.fao.org/es/esa/
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    Related research

    Keywords: Costs; Food security; Informal sector; Maize; Mexico; Oaxaca; Quality; Rural development; Seed; Small farms; Zea mays;

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    1. Badstue, Lone B. & Bellon, Mauricio R. & Juarez, Xochitl & Manuel, Irma & Solano, Ana M., 2003. "Social Relations And Seed Transactions Among Smallscale Maize Farmers In The Central Valleys Of Oaxaca, Mexico; Preliminary Findings," Economics Working Papers 46551, CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
    2. Marcel Fafchamps & Bart Minten, 2000. "Returns to Social Network Capital among Traders," Development Working Papers 145, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
    3. Bellon, Mauricio R. & Adato, Michelle & Becerril, Javier & Mindek, Dubravka, 2003. "The impact of improved maize germplasm on poverty alleviation," FCND discussion papers 162, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Smale, M. & Bellon, M. R. & Aguirre, J. A. & Manuel Rosas, I. & Mendoza, J. & Solano, A. M. & Martinez, R. & Ramirez, A. & Berthaud, J., 2003. "The economic costs and benefits of a participatory project to conserve maize landraces on farms in Oaxaca, Mexico," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 265-275, December.
    5. Bellon, Mauricio R., 2004. "Conceptualizing Interventions to Support On-Farm Genetic Resource Conservation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 159-172, January.
    6. Smale, Melinda & Aguirre, Alfonso & Bellon, Mauricio R. & Mendoza, Jorge & Rosas, Irma Manuel, 1999. "Farmer Management of Maize Diversity in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico: CIMMYT/INIFAP 1998 Baseline Socioeconomic Survey," Economics Working Papers 7689, CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
    7. Jill E. Hobbs, 1997. "Measuring the Importance of Transaction Costs in Cattle Marketing," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1083-1095.
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