New Smallholders Research

Research 1

Climate Change Resilience of Smallholders on Guatemala Highlands

Aims: The study assesses the resilience of smallholders against future climatic shocks, through the identification of different clusters of smallholders, and their awareness and behavior about climate change.

Study Design: The study has used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods.

Place and Duration of Study: The field part of the study took place during the months April – August 2010, while the data entry and statistical analysis were realized in the following months.

Methodology: The field work begun in April 2010 with visits to the area, focus groups and semi-structured interviews with farmers and key witnesses; six communities in two provinces were selected; in each community, 20 farmers were chosen, for a total of 120 interviews; a first questionnaire was validated through nine interviews; the improved version, with 80 questions, was submitted during July and August 2010, but only 28 questions have been retained for this study, being the other 62 of extremely technical nature; digital codification and data entry took place in September – October 2010; statistical analysis was realized with SAS version 9.1 in the following months.

Results: Landholding size averages only 0.27 hectares, ranging from 0.04 to 1.6; 85.8% of respondents had some education, 67.5 access to water and sanitation; 51.67 do not implement any soil protection practice; 88.33% however apply some crop rotation and 87.29 follow a sowing plan. 58.33% sell to the same processing firm, but 69.17% have no certification. 63.33% have access to credit, and 55.83% to some advice. Latent Class Analysis has been implemented twice: the first one has defined two clusters along human capital and the second one three clusters along climate change perceptions. In the first case, the groups are defined Small Unskilled (77.18%) and Medium Skilled (22.82%); in the second case the groups are defined Medium Resilient Aware (68,5%), Medium Adaptive Aware (21.74%) and Small Vulnerable Unaware (9.74%).

Conclusion: Even within a seemingly quite homogeneous society, there are diverse clusters of farmers, with different assets, behaviors, agronomic management and relationships to the market. The better off, in terms of land size, human capital and income, perceive the climate change and its connected risks more than the very small ones, who manage tiny parcels and have very limited contacts with the market and extension/training. In all cases, to increase resilience and to prevent further degradation of the natural resources, a combination of public and private interventions are needed.

Research 2

Assessing Profitability of Farming of Disadvantaged Smallholders inside and outside Polder 29 in Khulna District of Bangladesh

The present study is designed to compare profitability of growing crops by the selected disadvantaged smallholders living inside and outside the Polder No. 29 in Khulna district of Bangladesh.  Primary data were collected from 120 respondents, of which 65 from inside the Polder 29 and 55 from outside the Polder 29 were selected randomly.  The disadvantaged people outside Polder 29 (Latabunia) followed only one cropping pattern a year such as: (i) T. Aman paddy and Bagda. On the other hand, the disadvantaged people inside polder area followed two distinct cropping patterns a year such as: (i) T. Aman paddy and Bagda; and (ii) Boro paddy and T. Aman paddy.  No disadvantaged people outside Polder 29 were found to be involved in small trading and livestock keeping whereas it was common inside Polder 29. So, a wider variation in cropping patterns and profitability of the disadvantaged people was observed as the farm is located inside and outside the Polder 29 (Latabunia).  Profitability of disadvantaged people for Bagda cultivation within and outside Polder 29 was not much differs but profitability of disadvantaged people for T. Aman production inside Polder 29 was higher than the profitability for T. Aman production of Latabunia farmers and the difference was Tk 19142.00 per hectare. The concerned scientists should give top most priority to develop salt tolerance new variety of T. Aman paddy and MV Boro paddy for this area.  Necessary steps could be taken to protect the land of outside farmers from the salinity or other appropriate steps could be taken to decrease salinity problem of the area.

Research 3


Leguminous crops have a special role of fixing atmospheric nitrogen in the soil through the process of biological nitrogen fixation. Biological nitrogen fixation is a natural means of reducing atmospheric nitrogen (N2) to ammonia in the presence of nitrogenase in a form available to plants. Low crop productivity is a problem facing farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. These low yields in leguminous crops are as a result of declining soil fertility, reduced N2-fixation, soil acidity, over cultivation, poor soil management practices and this make soils deficient in Nitrogen, and Phosphorus making the soil susceptible to erosion and leading to land degradation. It has been reported that application of organic matter increased soil pH from 5.0 to 6.5 after 90days of application. Majority of farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa are unable to afford the high prices of mineral fertilizer and much of the fertilizers are imported and putting pressure on foreign exchange. Hence farmers are advised to intercrop with legumes or practiced crop rotation to help increase the nitrogen content of the soil as a way of increasing yield. This review paper tends to reveal ways of improving nodulation and nitrogen fixation by legumes to enhance production in smallholder farming systems.

Research 4

Determinants of Commercialization of Smallholder Tomato and Pineapple Farms in Ghana

Smallholder commercialisation may be broadly defined as the situation where farmers of small individual and family farms have greater engagement with markets, either for inputs, outputs, or both. A key premise of commercialization as a development strategy is that markets provide increased incomes to households who are able to maximize the returns to land and labor through market opportunities, using earned income for household consumption in ways that are more efficient than subsistence production. This study assesses the characteristics of smallholder farmers in Ghana using tomato and pineapple production as a case study; analyses the relationship between commercialization and smallholder land holdings; assesses the determinants of commercialization of smallholder agriculture, as well as the benefits or otherwise of smallholder farmers from commercialization; and discusses how commercialization affects household food security among smallholder farmers. Descriptive statistics, correlations and regression analysis are used to describe the characteristics of smallholder farmers and determine the key factors that influence household decision to undertake commercialization among both tomato and pineapple farmers. Based on the study, it was found that 96.3 percent of the respondents in the study communities are farmers; and they fall between the ages of 15 and 59 years (91%), which indicates that they are relatively young. The key determinants of commercialization among tomato farmers are land productivity and labour productivity. Similarly, the main determinants of commercialization among pineapple smallholder farmers are land productivity and savings. The study recommends that both public and private agencies work should together to facilitate the move of smallholder farmers from mainly subsistence to commercialization because it comes with several benefits, including higher household incomes, and improvements in household food security.

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