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Do fragmented landholdings have higher production costs? Evidence from rice farmers in Northeastern Jiangxi province, P.R. China


  • Tan, Shuhao
  • Heerink, Nico
  • Kruseman, Gideon
  • Qu, Futian


Land fragmentation is generally seen as an obstacle to agricultural productivity improvements, but it can also facilitate labor smoothing and risk diversification. In this paper we examine the impact of land fragmentation on the variable production costs of rice farmers in three villages in Jiangxi Province, P.R. China. We find that changes in the number of plots and plot size distribution, as measured by the Simpson index, do not affect total production costs per unit output, but cause a shift between cost categories. Farmers with more and smaller plots tend to use more labor and fewer modern technologies as compared to farmers with fewer and larger plots. Other aspects of land fragmentation, however, do affect total production costs. A reduction of the average distance to plots and an increase in farm size decrease the total production costs per ton. We conclude that land consolidation programs can only contribute to the joint policy goals of increasing agricultural production capacity and reducing the rural labor surplus, if such programs are accompanied by measures aimed at creating alternative market opportunities and at providing appropriate off-farm employment opportunities.

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  • Tan, Shuhao & Heerink, Nico & Kruseman, Gideon & Qu, Futian, 2008. "Do fragmented landholdings have higher production costs? Evidence from rice farmers in Northeastern Jiangxi province, P.R. China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 347-358, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:19:y:2008:i:3:p:347-358

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ali,Daniel Ayalew & Deininger,Klaus W. & Ronchi,Loraine, 2015. "Costs and benefits of land fragmentation : evidence from Rwanda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7290, The World Bank.
    2. Klaus Deininger & Daniel Monchuk & Hari K Nagarajan & Sudhir K Singh, 2017. "Does Land Fragmentation Increase the Cost of Cultivation? Evidence from India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(1), pages 82-98, January.
    3. Rakhshanda, Kousar & Awudu, Abdulai, 2013. "Impacts of rural non-farm employment on household welfare in Pakistan," 2013 Second Congress, June 6-7, 2013, Parma, Italy 149890, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA).
    4. Jia, Lili, 2012. "Land fragmentation and off-farm labor supply in China," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 66, number 66.
    5. 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.
    6. Lili Jia & Martin Petrick, 2014. "How does land fragmentation affect off-farm labor supply: panel data evidence from China," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(3), pages 369-380, May.
    7. Wen-Ge Fu & Sizhong Sun & Zhang-Yue Zhou, 2011. "Technical efficiency of food processing in China: the case of flour and rice processing," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 321-334, September.
    8. Nguyen, Huy, 2014. "The effect of land fragmentation on labor allocation and the economic diversity of farm households: The case of Vietnam," MPRA Paper 57643, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Rao, Xudong, 2014. "Land Fragmentation with Double Bonuses -- The Case of Tanzanian Agriculture," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 169436, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Stefanija Veljanoska, 2017. "Can Land Fragmentation Reduce the Exposure of Rural Households to Weather Variability?," Policy Papers 2017.02, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    11. Wang, Xiaobing & Yu, Xiaohua, 2011. "Scale Effects, Technical Efficiency and Land Lease in China," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 115736, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    12. Jia, Lili & Petrick, Martin, 2011. "How land fragmentation affects off-farm labor supply in China: Evidence from household panel data," 51st Annual Conference, Halle, Germany, September 28-30, 2011 114522, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    13. Chen, Zhuo & Huffman, Wallace E. & Rozelle, Scott, 2009. "Farm technology and technical efficiency: Evidence from four regions in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 153-161, June.
    14. Stefanija Veljanoska, 2017. "Can Land Fragmentation Reduce the Exposure of Rural Households to Weather Variability?," Working Papers 2017.08, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    15. Deininger, Klaus & Savastano, Sara & Carletto, Calogero, 2012. "Land Fragmentation, Cropland Abandonment, and Land Market Operation in Albania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 2108-2122.
    16. Monchuk, Daniel C. & Deininger, Klaus W. & Nagarajan, Hari K., 2010. "Does Land Fragmentation Reduce Efficiency: Micro Evidence from India," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 61652, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    17. Feng, Shuyi & Heerink, Nico & Ruben, Ruerd & Qu, Futian, 2010. "Land rental market, off-farm employment and agricultural production in Southeast China: A plot-level case study," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 598-606, December.

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