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Diversification and Its Impact on Smallholders: Evidence from a Study on Vegetable Production

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  • Joshi, P.K.
  • Joshi, Laxmi
  • Birthal, Pratap Singh

Abstract

There is an emerging concern about the viability of small farm agriculture, particularly in the context of on-going process of globalization. It is contended that viability of small farms can be improved through diversification of agriculture into higher-value crops like fruits and vegetables. This paper has assessed the impact of diversification of agriculture towards vegetables on farm income and employment using household level information from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The results clearly reveal that vegetable production is more profitable and labour-intensive, therefore it fits well in the small farm production systems. The smallholders are relatively more efficient in production and own more family labour in contrast to large farmers. Vegetable production is the emerging sector in agricultural diversification that would augment income of smallholders and generate employment opportunities in rural areas. Women are also benefited as the vegetable production engages relatively higher women labour in various operations. However, prevailing constraints do not allow smallholders to fully expropriate the emerging opportunities in vegetable production. Major constraints in vegetable production are lack of assured markets and a well-developed seed sector. Since vegetables are perishable in nature, lack of efficient marketing system and appropriate infrastructure results in huge post-harvest losses. Further, non-availability of improved and good quality seeds reduces the profitability and increases production risk. Other important factors that restrict expansion of area under vegetables are higher price and yield risks as compared to cereals and low marketable surplus that increases transaction costs. The vegetable prices are highly volatile, which severely affect the profitability in the event of marginal increase in their supply. Low volume of marketable surplus also adversely affects the bargaining power of smallholders and thus results in realizing lower prices. The possible solution for overcoming this is through developing institutional arrangements that strengthen farm-firm linkages. Contract farming is one such arrangement that helps smallholders to overcome the constraints in vegetable production.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshi, P.K. & Joshi, Laxmi & Birthal, Pratap Singh, 2006. "Diversification and Its Impact on Smallholders: Evidence from a Study on Vegetable Production," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 19(2), July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aerrae:57759
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.57759
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Narayanan, Sudha & Gulati, Ashok, 2002. "Globalization and the smallholders," MSSD discussion papers 50, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Joshi, P.K. & Gulati, Ashok & Birthal, Pratap S. & Tewari, Laxmi, 2003. "Agriculture diversification in South Asia," MSSD discussion papers 57, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Pingali, Prabhu L. & Rosegrant, Mark W., 1995. "Agricultural commercialization and diversification: processes and policies," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 171-185, June.
    4. von Braun, Joachim, 1995. "Agricultural commercialization: impacts on income and nutrition and implications for policy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 187-202, June.
    5. Birthal, Pratap S. & Joshi, P. K. & Gulati, Ashok, 2005. "Vertical coordination in high-value commodities," MTID discussion papers 85, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. von Braun, Joachim & Mirzabaev, Alisher, 2015. "Small Farms: Changing Structures and Roles in Economic Development," Discussion Papers 210464, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    2. Birthal, Pratap Singh & Joshi, Pramod Kumar & Negi, Digvijay S. & Agarwal, Shaily, 2014. "Changing sources of growth in Indian agriculture: Implications for regional priorities for accelerating agricultural growth:," IFPRI discussion papers 1325, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Birthal, Pratap S. & Jha, Awadhesh K. & Tiongco, Marites M. & Narrod, Clare A., 2009. "Farm-Level Impacts of Vertical Coordination of the Food Supply Chain: Evidence from Contract Farming of Milk in India," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 64(3), pages 1-16.
    4. Singh, Mahendra, 2008. "Structural Changes in Horticulture Sector in India: Retrospect and Prospect for XIth Five Year Plan," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 63(3), pages 1-17.
    5. Birthal, P.S. & Jha, A.K. & Joshi, P.K. & Singh, D.K., 2006. "Agricultural Diversification in North Eastern Region of India: Implications for Growth and Equity," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 61(3), pages 1-13.
    6. Aparna, B. & Hanumanthaiah, C.V., 2012. "Are Supermarket Supply Channels More Efficient than Traditional Market Channels?," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 25(2).
    7. Sharma, Vijay Paul & Jain, Dinesh, 2011. "High-Value Agriculture in India: Past Trends and Future Prospects," IIMA Working Papers WP2011-07-02, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    8. Birthal, Pratap S. & Joshi, P.K. & Chauhan, Sonia & Singh, Harvinder, 2008. "Can Horticulture Revitalise Agricultural Growth?," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 63(3), pages 1-12.
    9. Srinivasulu Rajendran, 2014. "Technical Efficiency of Fruit and Vegetable Producers in Tamil Nadu, India: A Stochastic Frontier Approach," Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), vol. 11(1), pages 77-93, June.
    10. Nicholas A. Lancaster & Ariana P. Torres, 2019. "Investigating the Drivers of Farm Diversification Among U.S. Fruit and Vegetable Operations," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(12), pages 1-20, June.
    11. Aradhna Aggarwal & Nagesh Kumar, 2012. "Structural Change, Industrialization and Poverty Reduction: The Case of India," Development Papers 1206, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) South and South-West Asia Office.
    12. Chinnadurai, M. & Karunakaran, K.R. & Chandrasekaran, M. & Balasubramanian, R. & Umanath, M., 2016. "Examining Linkage between Dietary Pattern and Crop Diversification: An Evidence from Tamil Nadu," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 29(Conferenc).
    13. Birthal, Pratap S. & Roy, Devesh & Negi, Digvijay S., 2015. "Assessing the Impact of Crop Diversification on Farm Poverty in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 70-92.
    14. Acharya, Saraswati Poudel & Basavaraja, H. & Kunnal, L.B. & Mahajanashetti, S.B. & Bhat, Anil R.S., 2011. "Crop Diversification in Karnataka: An Economic Analysis," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 24(2), December.
    15. Supehatin & Umberger, Wendy J. & Yi, Dale & Stringer, Randy & Minot, Nicholas, 2015. "The Effect of Indonesian Farmer Preferences for Crop Attributes in the Adoption of Horticultural Crops: A Best-Worst Scaling Approach," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205453, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    16. Birthal, Pratap S., 2010. "Unlocking the Potential of Agriculture in North-eastern Hill Region of India," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 65(3), pages 1-15.
    17. Vijay Paul Sharma & Dinesh Jain, 2011. "High-Value Agriculture in India: Past Trends and Future Prospects," Working Papers id:4374, eSocialSciences.
    18. Suprehatin, By & Umberger, Wendy J. & Yi, Dale & Stringer, Randy & Minot, Nicholas, 2015. "Can Understanding Indonesian Farmers’ Preferences for Crop Attributes Encourage their Adoption of High Value Crops?," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212057, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    19. Samrat Singh & Meenakshi Fernandes, 2018. "Home-grown school feeding: promoting local production systems diversification through nutrition sensitive agriculture," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 10(1), pages 111-119, February.

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