IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/agisys/v123y2014icp84-96.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is rainfed agriculture really a pathway from poverty?

Author

Listed:
  • Harris, David
  • Orr, Alastair

Abstract

Agriculture’s potential to reduce poverty at household level is explored for rainfed crop production in Africa and India. A literature survey of crop improvement and natural resource management interventions demonstrates that new technology can substantially increase net returns per hectare per cropping season. However, the median net income from improved technologies was only $558/ha/season at 2005 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and a de facto limit of around $1700/ha/season was identified, with values rarely exceeding $1000/ha/season. These values for net returns from the literature were mostly derived from small-plot studies and are likely to be overestimates when technologies are implemented by farmers on larger areas. Crop production could be a pathway from poverty where smallholders are able to increase farm size or where markets stimulate crop diversification, commercialisation and increased farm profitability. For most smallholders, however, small farm size and limited access to markets mean that returns from improved technology are too small for crop production alone to lift them above the poverty line and the direct benefit will be improved household food security.

Suggested Citation

  • Harris, David & Orr, Alastair, 2014. "Is rainfed agriculture really a pathway from poverty?," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 84-96.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:123:y:2014:i:c:p:84-96
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2013.09.005
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X13001236
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jayne, T. S. & Yamano, Takashi & Weber, Michael T. & Tschirley, David & Benfica, Rui & Chapoto, Antony & Zulu, Ballard, 2003. "Smallholder income and land distribution in Africa: implications for poverty reduction strategies," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 253-275, June.
    2. Alastair Orr & Blessings Mwale & Donata Saiti-Chitsonga, 2009. "Exploring Seasonal Poverty Traps: The 'Six-Week Window' in Southern Malawi," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(2), pages 227-255.
    3. Frank Ellis & H Ade Freeman, 2004. "Rural Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction Strategies in Four African Countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 1-30.
    4. Hazell, Peter & Poulton, Colin & Wiggins, Steve & Dorward, Andrew, 2010. "The Future of Small Farms: Trajectories and Policy Priorities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1349-1361, October.
    5. Alwang, Jeffrey & Siegel, P. B., 1999. "Labor Shortages on Small Landholdings in Malawi: Implications for Policy Reforms," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1461-1475, August.
    6. Sen, Binayak, 2003. "Drivers of Escape and Descent: Changing Household Fortunes in Rural Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 513-534, March.
    7. Frédéric Baudron & Jens A. Andersson & Marc Corbeels & Ken E. Giller, 2012. "Failing to Yield? Ploughs, Conservation Agriculture and the Problem of Agricultural Intensification: An Example from the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(3), pages 393-412, March.
    8. Ajayi, Olu Clifford & Akinnifesi, Festus K. & Sileshi, G. & Kanjipite, W., 2009. "Labour inputs and financial profitability of conventional and agroforestry-based soil fertility management practices in Zambia," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 48(3), September.
    9. Wanjala, Bernadette M. & Muradian, Roldan, 2013. "Can Big Push Interventions Take Small-Scale Farmers out of Poverty? Insights from the Sauri Millennium Village in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 147-160.
    10. Anderson, Jock R., 1992. "Difficulties in African agricultural systems enhancement? Ten hypotheses," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 387-409.
    11. Doss, Cheryl R., 2001. "Designing Agricultural Technology for African Women Farmers: Lessons from 25 Years of Experience," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(12), pages 2075-2092, December.
    12. Jayne, T.S. & Mather, David & Mghenyi, Elliot, 2010. "Principal Challenges Confronting Smallholder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1384-1398, October.
    13. Banda, Diana J. & Hamukwala, Priscilla & Haggblade, Steven & Chapoto, Antony, 2011. "Dynamic Pathways into and out of Poverty: A Case of Small Holder Farmers in Zambia," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 113649, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    14. Donald F. Larson & Keijiro Otsuka & Tomoya Matsumoto & Talip Kilic, 2014. "Should African rural development strategies depend on smallholder farms? An exploration of the inverse-productivity hypothesis," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(3), pages 355-367, May.
    15. Anirudh Krishna & Daniel Lumonya & Milissa Markiewicz & Firminus Mugumya & Agatha Kafuko & Jonah Wegoye, 2006. "Escaping poverty and becoming poor in 36 villages of Central and Western Uganda," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 346-370.
    16. Anirudh Krishna & Patti Kristjanson & Maren Radeny & Wilson Nindo, 2004. "Escaping Poverty and Becoming Poor in 20 Kenyan Villages," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 211-226.
    17. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen & Prem Sangraula, 2009. "Dollar a Day Revisited," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(2), pages 163-184, June.
    18. Mazvimavi, Kizito & Twomlow, Steve, 2009. "Socioeconomic and institutional factors influencing adoption of conservation farming by vulnerable households in Zimbabwe," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 101(1-2), pages 20-29, June.
    19. Krishna, Anirudh & Shariff, Abusaleh, 2011. "The Irrelevance of National Strategies? Rural Poverty Dynamics in States and Regions of India, 1993-2005," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 533-549, April.
    20. Islam, Nurul, 2011. "Foreign aid to agriculture: Review of facts and analysis," IFPRI discussion papers 01053, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    21. A. de Janvry & E. Sadoulet, 2002. "World Poverty and the Role of Agricultural Technology: Direct and Indirect Effects," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(4), pages 1-26.
    22. Milu Muyanga & T. S. Jayne & William J. Burke, 2013. "Pathways into and out of Poverty: A Study of Rural Household Wealth Dynamics in Kenya," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(10), pages 1358-1374, October.
    23. Haggblade, Steven & Tembo, Gelson & Donovan, Cynthia, 2004. "Household Level Financial Incentives to Adoption of Conservation Agricultural Technologies in Africa," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 54466, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    24. Bryceson, Deborah Fahy, 2002. "The Scramble in Africa: Reorienting Rural Livelihoods," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 725-739, May.
    25. Hugo De Groote & Bernard Vanlauwe & Esther Rutto & George D. Odhiambo & Fred Kanampiu & Zeyaur R. Khan, 2010. "Economic analysis of different options in integrated pest and soil fertility management in maize systems of Western Kenya," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(5), pages 471-482, September.
    26. Kabwe, Stephen & Donovan, Cynthia & Samazaka, David, 2007. "Assessment of the Farm Level Financial Profitability of the Magoye RipperiIn Maize and Cotton Production in Southern and Eastern Provinces," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 54482, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    27. Patti Kristjanson & Nelson Mango & Anirudh Krishna & Maren Radeny & Nancy Johnson, 2010. "Understanding poverty dynamics in Kenya," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(7), pages 978-996.
    28. Burke, William J. & Jayne, Thomas S. & Freeman, H. Ade & Kristjanson, Patricia, 2007. "Factors Associated with Farm Households’ Movement Into and Out of Poverty in Kenya: The Rising Importance of Livestock," Food Security International Development Working Papers 54563, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    29. Moser, Christine M. & Barrett, Christopher B., 2003. "The disappointing adoption dynamics of a yield-increasing, low external-input technology: the case of SRI in Madagascar," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 1085-1100, June.
    30. Deepa Narayan & Robert Chambers & Meera K. Shah & Patti Petesch, 2000. "Voices of the Poor : Crying Out for Change," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13848.
    31. Kassie, Menale & Shiferaw, Bekele & Muricho, Geoffrey, 2010. "Adoption and Impact of Improved Groundnut Varieties on Rural Poverty: Evidence from Rural Uganda," Discussion Papers dp-10-11-efd, Resources For the Future.
    32. Ngigi, Margaret, 2005. "The case of smallholder dairying in Eastern Africa:," EPTD discussion papers 131, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:ssefpa:v:9:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0732-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hammond, James & Fraval, Simon & van Etten, Jacob & Suchini, Jose Gabriel & Mercado, Leida & Pagella, Tim & Frelat, Romain & Lannerstad, Mats & Douxchamps, Sabine & Teufel, Nils & Valbuena, Diego & va, 2017. "The Rural Household Multi-Indicator Survey (RHoMIS) for rapid characterisation of households to inform climate smart agriculture interventions: Description and applications in East Africa and Central ," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 225-233.
    3. Wani, Suhas P. & Anantha, K.H. & Garg, Kaushal K., 2017. "Soil Properties, Crop Yield, and Economics Under Integrated Crop Management Practices in Karnataka, Southern India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 43-61.
    4. repec:eee:ecolec:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:144-153 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Tittonell, Pablo & Gérard, Bruno & Erenstein, Olaf, 2015. "Tradeoffs around crop residue biomass in smallholder crop-livestock systems – What’s next?," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 119-128.
    6. R. S. Ritzema & R. Frelat & S. Douxchamps & S. Silvestri & M. C. Rufino & M. Herrero & K. E. Giller & S. López-Ridaura & N. Teufel & B. K. Paul & M. T. Wijk, 2017. "Is production intensification likely to make farm households food-adequate? A simple food availability analysis across smallholder farming systems from East and West Africa," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 9(1), pages 115-131, February.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:123:y:2014:i:c:p:84-96. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/agsy .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.