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Identifying the Factors that Influence Small-Scale Farmers' Transaction Costs in Relation to Seed Acquisition

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  • Lone B. Badstue

Abstract

Using an ethnographic approach, this study explores small-scale farmers’ perceived transaction costs in relation to maize seed acquisition in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca. These farmers have different needs and require seed of diverse maize types with multiple traits in particular combinations. Formal seed distribution has yet to develop in this region and farmers depend mostly on informal seed sources. Issues of information about maize seed, seed transaction negotiation and enforcement are examined from a small-scale farmer perspective through the use of qualitative data. Results show that farmers’ perceived transaction costs are low to negligible in most cases where seed transactions take place locally, and trust is indicated as a factor which serves to reduce transaction costs to a minimum. Though maybe not a transaction cost in the theoretical sense, the risk of crop failure due to inadequate seed is a main concern for farmers in relation to seed transactions.

Suggested Citation

  • Lone B. Badstue, 2004. "Identifying the Factors that Influence Small-Scale Farmers' Transaction Costs in Relation to Seed Acquisition," Working Papers 04-16, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  • Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0416
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Marcel Fafchamps, 2002. "Returns to social network capital among traders," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 173-206, April.
    2. Bellon, Mauricio R., 2004. "Conceptualizing Interventions to Support On-Farm Genetic Resource Conservation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 159-172, January.
    3. Jill E. Hobbs, 1997. "Measuring the Importance of Transaction Costs in Cattle Marketing," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1083-1095.
    4. Badstue, Lone B. & Bellon, Mauricio R. & Juarez, Xochitl & Manuel, Irma & Solano, Ana M., 2003. "Social Relations And Seed Transactions Among Smallscale Maize Farmers In The Central Valleys Of Oaxaca, Mexico; Preliminary Findings," Economics Working Papers 46551, CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
    5. Bellon, Mauricio R. & Adato, Michelle & Becerril, Javier & Mindek, Dubravka, 2003. "The impact of improved maize germplasm on poverty alleviation," FCND discussion papers 162, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Smale, Melinda & Aguirre, Alfonso & Bellon, Mauricio R. & Mendoza, Jorge & Rosas, Irma Manuel, 1999. "Farmer Management of Maize Diversity in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico: CIMMYT/INIFAP 1998 Baseline Socioeconomic Survey," Economics Working Papers 7689, CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
    7. Smale, M. & Bellon, M. R. & Aguirre, J. A. & Manuel Rosas, I. & Mendoza, J. & Solano, A. M. & Martinez, R. & Ramirez, A. & Berthaud, J., 2003. "The economic costs and benefits of a participatory project to conserve maize landraces on farms in Oaxaca, Mexico," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 265-275, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Badstue, Lone B. & Bellon, Mauricio R. & Berthaud, Julien & Ramirez, Alejandro & Flores, Dagoberto & Juarez, Xochitl, 2007. "The Dynamics of Farmers' Maize Seed Supply Practices in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1579-1593, September.
    2. Mettepenningen, E. & Beckmann, V. & Eggers, J., 2011. "Public transaction costs of agri-environmental schemes and their determinants--Analysing stakeholders' involvement and perceptions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(4), pages 641-650, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Costs; Food security; Informal sector; Maize; Mexico; Oaxaca; Quality; Rural development; Seed; Small farms; Zea mays;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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