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Is participatory social learning a performance driver for Chinese smallholder farmers?

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  • Huanxiu Guo

    (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - UdA - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Sébastien Marchand

    () (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - UdA - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

This paper aims to test the effect of smallholder farmers' participatory social learning on their gain of performance in a village of southwest China. By exploring a panel structure survey data collected in the village, we identify the social learning effect using a Spatial Autoregressive (SAR) model. Particularly, we calculate the technical efficiency and environmental efficiency from a SFA model and use them as dependent variables of the model. Moreover, we investigate the social learning of different technologies, i.e., conventional and organic farming, by separating the estimations. Our identification results suggest that the effect of social learning is weak due to the technological heterogeneity in the general case, whilst it is significantly positive for organized organic farming. However, it appears that farmers learn to improve their economic performance (i.e., maximize yield) rather than environmental performance (i.e., minimize environmentally detrimental input). These results reveal a critical limitation of social learning, and demand more environmental orientation in the agricultural extension service, which is expected to guide smallholder farmers and foster their environmental performance for sustainable agricultural development.

Suggested Citation

  • Huanxiu Guo & Sébastien Marchand, 2013. "Is participatory social learning a performance driver for Chinese smallholder farmers?," Working Papers halshs-00878886, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00878886
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00878886
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    1. Sriroop Chaudhuri & Mimi Roy & Louis M. McDonald & Yves Emendack, 0. "Reflections on farmers’ social networks: a means for sustainable agricultural development?," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-36.

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    Keywords

    China; Smallholder farming; Social learning; Organic farming; Technical efficiency; Environmental efficiency; China.;

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