Breaking down the growth of family farms: A case study of an intensive Mediterranean agriculture
Agricultural statistics performed in Europe show the persistence and strength of the processes of concentration, capitalization and intensification of farms in the last years. Remarkably, these patterns of change appear to be compatible with the persistence of family farms. One of the elements enabling family farms to advance along these pathways of growth has been the transformation of their organizational forms. Thus, the spread of partnership arrangements involving several related families have been registered in several OECD countries. This paper pursues a twofold objective: On the one hand, to analyze the farm structural dynamics at the micro-level in a study area specialized in an intensive agricultural system such as horticulture. This purpose makes it necessary to develop an analytical scheme in order to capture the diversity of individual farms' trajectories and to reduce it to a limited number of categories of structural change. On the other hand, we aim to shed light on the relationship between some family characteristics and the farm structural dynamics, paying particular attention to the existence of multifamily partnerships. The primary data for this research was provided by a survey of 135 farmers. A combination of Multiple Correspondence Analysis and a K-means clustering was performed to obtain a farm typology upon the base of both farms' 'static' characteristics and their patterns of structural evolution. The results show that multifamily partnerships are widespread in the study zone, and have made it possible for farms to embark on more aggressive growth pathways.
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