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Rural economy and farm income diversification in developing countries

  • Delgado, Christopher L.
  • Siamwalla, Ammar
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    Farm-level diversification, the adoption of alternative income-generating activities by farm households, is rarely deemed an explicit objective by economists. Where agricultural transformation has occurred, markets function well and agriculture is a waning portion of overall national product, such as the rice growing regions of Southeast Asia, farm diversification might be a desirable outcome of pursuing a market liberalization objective, but is probably not an end in itself. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where these conditions often do not hold, development depends on pro-actively commercializing rural areas. African farmers tend to diversify their production activities widely to mitigate risk, but to only produce one or two exportable commodities. High transaction costs are common barriers to diversification into new export opportunities, especially for the poor and less well-informed, who tend to fall behind during times of rapid structural change. Identifying appropriate rural institutions to incorporate rural people into new export opportunities is a major priority for relevant policy research; contract farming and participatory cooperatives offer promise and merit further study.

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    Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series MTID discussion papers with number 20.

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    Date of creation: 1997
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    Handle: RePEc:fpr:mtiddp:20
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    1. Lopez, Ramon E., 1984. "Estimating labor supply and production decisions of self-employed farm producers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 61-82.
    2. de Janvry, Alain & Fafchamps, Marcel & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1991. "Peasant Household Behaviour with Missing Markets: Some Paradoxes Explained," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(409), pages 1400-417, November.
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    7. Hare, Denise, 1994. "Rural nonagricultural activities and their impact on the distribution of income: Evidence from farm households in Southern China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 59-82.
    8. Adams, Richard H. Jr. & He, Jane J., 1995. "Sources of income inequality and poverty in rural Pakistan:," Research reports 102, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Reardon, Thomas & Matlon, Peter & Delgado, Christopher, 1988. "Coping with household-level food insecurity in drought-affected areas of Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 16(9), pages 1065-1074, September.
    10. Minot, Nicholas, 1986. "Contract Farming and Its Effect on Small Farmers in Less Developed Countries," Food Security International Development Working Papers 54740, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    11. Staal, Steven & Delgado, Christopher & Nicholson, Charles, 1997. "Smallholder dairying under transactions costs in East Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 779-794, May.
    12. Craig L Infanger, 1993. "The Agrarian Origins of Commerce and Industry, A Study of Peasant Marketing in Indonesia," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(2), pages 60-62, July.
    13. Delgado, Christopher L., 1995. "Agricultural diversification and export promotion in sub-Saharan Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 225-243, June.
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