Farm intensification and drivers of technology adoption in mixed dairy-crop systems in Santa Cruz, Bolivia uri icon

abstract

  • The expanding demand for livestock products in developing countries is expected to drive changes in livestock farming systems, such as intensification and technological development. However, while large commercial farms can take advantage of these new opportunities, semi-subsistence agriculture will be the main option for many poor livestock keepers. Development pathways may depend on local and farm-specific conditions. In this paper we: i) typify mixed crop-dairy systems in Santa Cruz (Bolivia) from the point of view of their structural and socio-economical characteristics; ii) deepen the analysis of farm economics and level of intensification and iii) identify factors associated to the adoption of technologies. Three farming systems (specialized large commercial livestock farms, medium-size agricultural farms, and small semi-commercial mixed farms) were clearly differentiated in terms of structure, production orientation, economics and intensification level. The adoption of technologies (use of concentrates, pasture fertilization, cultivation of cut and carry pastures and use of dairy breeds) was related to distance from the farm to the nearest population, farmer education, farmer age and income. Policies directed towards improving market access and rural infrastructure would reduce transaction costs and increase non-farm employment opportunities. Similarly, investments in education and training would improve management capacity and technology adoption. However, current extension services do not seem to have an effect on technology adoption and, therefore, need to be irnproved/better targeted.

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008