Diversification in Indian Agriculture toward High-Value Crops: The Role of Small Farmers uri icon

abstract

  • Diversification by small farmers toward high-value crops (fruits and vegetables [F & V]) that can raise farm incomes significantly has always been in question because of several reasons such as diseconomies of scale and lack of access to inputs such as capital and information. We present evidence that in India diversification toward high-value crops exhibits a pro-smallholder (rather than anti-smallholder) bias. The smallholders however play a proportionally larger role in vegetables than in fruits cultivation. These patterns are consistent with simple comparative advantage-based production choices. Even with small landholdings if labor endowments are high, such farmers diversify toward F & V. Though fruits cultivation is also labor intensive relative to cereals, it is less so relative to vegetables. Greater capital intensity implies a comparatively important role of credit in fruits. The results are robust to several tests on specification including those related to self-selection. Chez les petits exploitants agricoles, la diversification en faveur de cultures a valeur elevee (fruits et legumes) permettant d'accroitre considerablement le revenu agricole a toujours ete remise en question pour diverses raisons, notamment les deseconomies d'echelle et le manque d'acces aux intrants comme le capital et l'information. Dans le present article, nous montrons qu'en Inde, la diversification en faveur de cultures a valeur elevee semble plutot favorable que defavorable aux petits exploitants agricoles. Toutefois, les petits exploitants sont proportionnellement plus presents dans la culture maraichere que dans la culture fruitiere. Ces observations concordent avec les choix d'une production fondee sur les avantages comparatifs. Meme dans le cas des petites exploitations, lorsque les besoins de main-d'OEuvre sont eleves, elles se tournent vers les cultures fruitiere et maraichere. Bien que la culture fruitiere soit une activitea forte intensite de main-d'OEuvre comparativement a la culture cerealiere, elle l'est moins que la culture maraichere. L'intensite de capital elevee de la culture fruitiere signifie que le credit joue aussi un role important. Les resultats de plusieurs tests de specification sont robustes, y compris ceux lies a l'auto-selection.

publication date

  • 2013
  • 2013
  • 2013