Determinants and implications of the growing scale of livestock farms in four fast-growing developing countries uri icon


  • 'Overall, the study concludes that in many cases smallholders other than the smallest backyard producers will be able to stay in the livestock business for a long time. If the opportunity cost of family labor rises and begins to approach local market wage rates, however, then much of the competitiveness of smallholder operations compared with large farms is vitiated. Furthermore, emerging disease threats and environmental backlash suggest that large and small producers will sink or rise together based on their ability to act collectively to deal with emerging threats. Finding ways to increase synergies between the two groups is very much in the social interest. Finally, if supply chains become longer, wider, and more anonymous, the future for independent livestock farming, whether large or small, will eventually depend on the options for integration with input supply and output marketing operations.' -- from Authors' Summary
  • The rapid growth in consumer demand for livestock offers an opportunity to reduce poverty among smallholder livestock farmers in the developing world. These farmers' opportunity may be threatened, however, by competition from larger-scale farms. This report assesses the potential threat, examining various forms of livestock production in Brazil, India, the Philippines, and Thailand. Findings show that the competitiveness of smallholder farms depends on the opportunity cost of family labor and farmers' ability to overcome barriers to the acquisition of production- and market-related information and assets. Pro-poor livestock development depends, therefore, on the strengthening of institutions that will help smallholders overcome the disproportionately high transaction costs in securing quality inputs and obtaining market recognition for quality outputs. These and other findings make this report a useful guide for researchers and others concerned with the opportunities and risks of smallholder livestock farming

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008