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Farm size and productivity in Malawian smallholder agriculture

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  • Andrew Dorward

Abstract

This article contributes to the limited literature on farm size and productivity in smallholder agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Farm survey data, and the results from a linear programming farm-household model, provide evidence for a positive relationship between farm size and productivity in both labour-scarce and land-scarce smallholder farming in Malawi during the 1980's. The absence of an inverse relationship is explained in terms of failures in land, capital and produce markets with acute capital constraints, which affect both capital and labour inputs on smaller farms. Implications for rural development policies are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Dorward, 1999. "Farm size and productivity in Malawian smallholder agriculture," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(5), pages 141-161.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:35:y:1999:i:5:p:141-161
    DOI: 10.1080/00220389908422595
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    Cited by:

    1. Berhanu Gebremedhin & Moti Jaleta & Dirk Hoekstra, 2009. "Smallholders, institutional services, and commercial transformation in Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(s1), pages 773-787, November.
    2. Klaus Deininger & Denys Nizalov & Sudhir K Singh, 2013. "Are mega-farms the future of global agriculture? Exploring the farm size-productivity relationship for large commercial farms in Ukraine," Discussion Papers 49, Kyiv School of Economics.
    3. Lipton, Michael, 2010. "From Policy Aims and Small-farm Characteristics to Farm Science Needs," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1399-1412, October.
    4. Deininger, Klaus & Nizalov, Denys & Singh, Sudhir K, 2013. "Are mega-farms the future of global agriculture ? exploring the farm size-productivity relationship," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6544, The World Bank.
    5. Ainembabazi, John Herbert & Angelsen, Arild, 2009. "The paradox of household resource endowment and land productivity in Uganda," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51691, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    6. Sauer, Johannes & Tchale, Hardwick, 2006. "Alternative Soil Fertility Management Options in Malawi - An Economic Analysis," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21423, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    7. Holden, Stein T. & Ali, Daniel & Deininger, Klaus & Hilhorst, Thea, 2016. "A Land Tenure Module for LSMS," CLTS Working Papers 1/16, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    8. Elodie Blanc & Aurelia Lepine & Eric Strobl, 2014. "Determinants of crop yield and profit of family farms: Evidence from the Senegal River Valley," Working Papers 2014-596, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    9. Haneishi, Yusuke & Maruyama, Atsushi & Takagaki, Michiko & Kikuchi, Masao, 2014. "Farmers’ risk attitudes to influence the productivity and planting decision: A case of rice and maize cultivation in rural Uganda," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 9(4), December.
    10. Klaus Deininger & Songqing Jin, 2008. "Land Sales and Rental Markets in Transition: Evidence from Rural Vietnam," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(1), pages 67-101, February.
    11. Daniel Ayalew Ali & Klaus Deininger, 2015. "Is There a Farm Size–Productivity Relationship in African Agriculture? Evidence from Rwanda," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 91(2), pages 317-343.
    12. Sauer, Johannes & Tchale, Hardwick, 2006. "Alternative Soil Fertility Management Options in Malawi An Economic Analysis," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25407, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    13. Luc Dossa & Barbara Rischkowsky & Regina Birner & Clemens Wollny, 2008. "Socio-economic determinants of keeping goats and sheep by rural people in southern Benin," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 25(4), pages 581-592, December.
    14. Holden, Stein & Fisher, Monica, 2013. "Can area measurement error explain the inverse farm size productivity relationship?," CLTS Working Papers 12/13, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    15. Kimhi, Ayal, 2003. "Plot Size And Maize Productivity In Zambia: The Inverse Relationship Re-Examined," Discussion Papers 14980, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Agricultural Economics and Management.
    16. Tomasz Gerard Czekaj & Arne Henningsen, 2012. "Comparing Parametric and Nonparametric Regression Methods for Panel Data: the Optimal Size of Polish Crop Farms," IFRO Working Paper 2012/12, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    17. Reddy, A. Amarender, 2015. "Regional Disparities in Profitability of Rice Production: Where Small Farmers Stand?," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 70(3).
    18. Kevin J. A. Thomas & Christopher Inkpen, 2013. "Migration Dynamics, Entrepreneurship, and African Development: Lessons from Malawi," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 844-873, December.
    19. Matchaya, Greenwell C., 2007. "Does size of operated area matter? Evidence from Malawi's agricultural production," MPRA Paper 11948, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Gustavo Anríquez & Genny Bonomi, 2007. "Long-Term Farming Trends. An Inquiry Using Agricultural Censuses," Working Papers 07-20, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
    21. Place, Frank, 2009. "Land Tenure and Agricultural Productivity in Africa: A Comparative Analysis of the Economics Literature and Recent Policy Strategies and Reforms," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1326-1336, August.
    22. Amede, T. & Desta, L. T. & Harris, D. & Kizito, F. & Cai, Xueliang, 2014. "The Chinyanja triangle in the Zambezi River Basin, southern Africa: status of, and prospects for, agriculture, natural resources management and rural development," IWMI Books, International Water Management Institute, number 208759.

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