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Mechanization outsourcing clusters and division of labor in Chinese agriculture

In: An evolving paradigm of agricultural mechanization development: How much can Africa learn from Asia?

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  • Zhang, Xiaobo
  • Yang, Jin
  • Reardon, Thomas

Abstract

Despite small landholdings, a high degree of land fragmentation, and rising labor costs, agricultural production in China has steadily increased. If one treats the farm household as the unit of analysis, it is difficult to explain the conundrum. When seeing agricultural production through the lens of the division of labor, the puzzle can be easily solved. In response to rising labor costs, farmers outsource some power-intensive stages of production, such as harvesting, to specialized mechanization service providers, which are often clustered in a few counties and travel throughout the country to provide harvesting services at competitive prices. Through such an arrangement, smallholder farmers can stay viable in agricultural production.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Xiaobo & Yang, Jin & Reardon, Thomas, 2020. "Mechanization outsourcing clusters and division of labor in Chinese agriculture," IFPRI book chapters, in: An evolving paradigm of agricultural mechanization development: How much can Africa learn from Asia?, chapter 2, pages 71-96, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifpric:9780896293809_02
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    Cited by:

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    2. Yating, Zeng & Yanhong, Jin & Zhong, Tang, 2016. "Investigating the Relationship between Land and Labor Endowments and Agricultural Mechanization among Chinese Farmers," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 236367, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Guo, Hongdong & Ji, Chen & Jin, Songqing & Huang, Zuhui, 2015. "Outsourcing Agricultural Production: Evidence from Rice Farmers in Zhejiang Province," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 206079, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Fan Fan & Bei Li & Weifeng Zhang & John R. Porter & Fusuo Zhang, 2021. "Evaluation of Sustainability of Irrigated Crops in Arid Regions, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(1), pages 1-15, January.
    5. Hiroyuki Takeshima & Yanyan Liu, 2018. "The Role of Plant-Breeding R&D in Tractor Adoption among Smallholders in Asia: Insights from Nepal Terai," Working Papers id:12748, eSocialSciences.
    6. Reardon, Thomas & Echeverria, Ruben & Berdegué, Julio & Minten, Bart & Liverpool-Tasie, Saweda & Tschirley, David & Zilberman, David, 2019. "Rapid transformation of food systems in developing regions: Highlighting the role of agricultural research & innovations," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 47-59.
    7. Takeshima, Hiroyuki & Houssou, Nazaire & Diao, Xinshen, 2018. "Effects of tractor ownership on returns-to-scale in agriculture: Evidence from maize in Ghana," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 33-49.
    8. Xin Deng & Zhongcheng Yan & Dingde Xu & Yanbin Qi, 2020. "Land Registration, Adjustment Experience, and Agricultural Machinery Adoption: Empirical Analysis from Rural China," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-14, March.
    9. Takeshima, Hiroyuki, 2015. "Identifying the effects of market imperfections for a scale biased agricultural technology: Tractors in Nigeria," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211937, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    10. Gulati, Kajal & Lybbert, Travis J. & Spielman, David J., 2017. "Diffusing to level fields: Evolution of laser land leveling technology markets in India," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258387, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Rada, Nicholas & Wang, Chenggang & Qin, Lijian, 2015. "Subsidy or market reform? Rethinking China’s farm consolidation strategy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 93-103.
    12. Zhang, Jian & Mishra, Ashok K. & Zhu, Peixin & Li, Xiaoshun, 2020. "Land rental market and agricultural labor productivity in rural China: A mediation analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
    13. Hiroyuki Takeshima & Yanyan Liu & Ian Masias, 2018. "Evolution of Agricultural Mechanization in Vietnam: Insights from a Literature Review and Multiple Rounds of a Farm Household Survey," Working Papers id:12785, eSocialSciences.
    14. Geneviève Nguyen & Julien Brailly & François Purseigle, 2020. "Strategic outsourcing and precision agriculture: towards a silent reorganization of agricultural production in France ?," Post-Print hal-02942720, HAL.
    15. Takeshima, Hiroyuki & Adhikari, Rajendra Prasad & Kumar, Anjani, 2016. "Is access to tractor service a binding constraint for Nepali Terai farmers? :," IFPRI discussion papers 1508, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    16. Hong, Yu & Heerink, Nico & van der Werf, Wopke, 2020. "Farm size and smallholders’ use of intercropping in Northwest China," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C).
    17. Qiangqiang Zhang & Beibei Yan & Xuexi Huo, 2018. "What Are the Effects of Participation in Production Outsourcing? Evidence from Chinese Apple Farmers," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-15, November.
    18. Song, Feng & Reardon, Thomas & Tian, Xin & Lin, Chen, 2019. "The energy implication of China’s food system transformation," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 240(C), pages 617-629.
    19. Idelphonse O. Saliou & Afio Zannou & Augustin K. N. Aoudji & Albert N. Honlonkou, 2020. "Drivers of Mechanization in Cotton Production in Benin, West Africa," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(11), pages 1-13, November.
    20. Deng, Xin & Xu, Dingde & Zeng, Miao & Qi, Yanbin, 2019. "Does Internet use help reduce rural cropland abandonment? Evidence from China," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C).
    21. Liu, Yanyan & Barrett, Christopher B. & Pham, Trinh & Violette, William, 2020. "The intertemporal evolution of agriculture and labor over a rapid structural transformation: Lessons from Vietnam," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).
    22. Hatzenbuehler, Patrick L. & Takeshima, Hiroyuki & Edeh, Hyacinth & Lawal, Akeem, 2018. "Cost and policy determinants of features of tractor markets in Nigeria: Case studies of tractor sellers in Kaduna state and tractor owners in Benue state," NSSP working papers 55, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    CHINA; EAST ASIA; ASIA; agricultural mechanization; policies; technology; governance; agriculture; clusters; agricultural production; remuneration; farmers; smallholders; rural areas; farm equipment; pesticides; fertilizers; supply balance; harvesters; harvesting; surveys; labour; outsourcing; farm mechanization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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