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Rethinking Agricultural Production Collectivities : The case for a group approach to energize agriculture and empower poor farmers

Author

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  • Bina Agarwal

    (Institute of Economic Growth)

Abstract

In the face of persistent rural poverty, an incomplete agrarian transition, the predominance of small and marginal farms and an emerging feminization of agriculture, this paper argues for a new institutional approach to poverty reduction, agricultural revival and social empowerment. It makes a strong case for a group approach to agricultural investment and production through promoting collectivities of the poor which, it argues, would be much more effective on all these counts than the traditional individual-oriented approaches. The collectivities proposed here, however, are small-sized, voluntary, socio-economically homogeneous, and participatory in decision-making, and in keeping with the principles emphasized in a human-rights approach to development. This is in sharp contrast to the largely failed historical efforts at early socialist collectivization, and some similar thrusts in non-socialist developing countries in the 1960s and 1970s, which were massive in scale, top-down, and typically coercive and non-participatory. The paper outlines the potential benefits of bottom-up agricultural production collectivities and describes a range of successful cases from the transition economies and South Asia. It also reflects on the contexts in which such collectivities may be expected to succeed, and how these efforts could be replicated for wider geographic coverage and impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Bina Agarwal, 2010. "Rethinking Agricultural Production Collectivities : The case for a group approach to energize agriculture and empower poor farmers," Development Economics Working Papers 22736, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:develo:22736
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    File URL: http://www.eaber.org/node/22736
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Maros Ivanic & Will Martin, 2008. "Implications of higher global food prices for poverty in low-income countries-super-1," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 405-416, November.
    2. Duraisamy, P., 1992. "Gender, Intrafamily Allocation of Resources and Child Schooling in South India," Papers 667, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    3. Swain,Nigel, 1985. "Collective Farms which Work?," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521268530, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Meinzen-Dick, R., 2010. "Engendering agricultural research," IWMI Working Papers H043604, International Water Management Institute.
      • Meinzen-Dick, Ruth & Quisumbing, Agnes & Behrman, Julia & Biermayr-Jenzano, Patricia & Wilde, Vicki & Noordeloos, Marco & Ragasa, Catherine & Beintema, Nienke, 2010. "Engendering agricultural research," IFPRI discussion papers 973, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Dev, Mahendra S., 2012. "Agriculture-nutrition linkages and policies in India:," IFPRI discussion papers 1184, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural production collectivities; food security; women farmers; self-help groups; transition economies; group farming;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • P32 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Collectives; Communes; Agricultural Institutions
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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