Non-farm rural activities in a peasant economy: the case of the North Peruvian Sierra
The paper investigates the prospects of a non-farm, labour-intensive, rural activity (hat making) with strong linkages to an agriculturally backward economy. Hat making employs exclusively family labour, the main input (straw, paja de palma) is purchased from Ecuador, and consumers are concentrated in villages and small towns in rural areas. Following the presentation of a simple theoretical model of the market for hats, attention turns to an empirical analysis of the demand for hats and of the labour returns in hat supply. Primary data from four villages of the Peruvian North Sierra have been used. Demand and supply constraints to the expansion of the hat making activity are identified and important differences in the value of labour's marginal product across the sample are found. It is concluded that growth based on local demand will not be feasible given falling incomes of consumers-mainly farmers-and expected changes in consumer preferences. The growth motor for non-farm rural activity will have to rely more on market expansion and product diversification to urban consumers. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Volume (Year): 18 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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