Public policy goals for small farm...
 Goals at the industry level
 The small farmers development...
 Research and development criteria...
 Performance criteria for small...
 Necessary considerations
 Final concerns

Title: Incongruent performance criteria for small farm economic development
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071952/00001
 Material Information
Title: Incongruent performance criteria for small farm economic development
Physical Description: 20 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Andrew, Chris O
Publication Date: 1976?
Subject: Farms, Small -- Economic aspects   ( lcsh )
Agricultural administration   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by C.O. Andrew.
General Note: Typescript with handwritten corrections.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00071952
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 74671396

Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Public policy goals for small farm development
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Goals at the industry level
        Page 5
        Page 6
    The small farmers development goals
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Research and development criteria for the small farm sector
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Performance criteria for small farm development
        Page 12
        Page 12a
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Necessary considerations
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Final concerns
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
Full Text
r 1

Incongruent Performance Criteria
For Snall Farm Economic Development

C. O. Andrew


The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the incongruent performance

criteria that surround the process of economic development for small farmers.

Performance criteria diverge because of various interests expressed by differ-

ent institutions and groups involved with assistance to snall farmers. The

four institutional levels that I wish to consider are the government, the indus-

try, the firm, and the research and technical assistance organization. While

the opportunities and functions of these different institutions may vary among

countries, the conflicts, similarities and difficulties associated with small

farm development apply to the more developed countries and the less developed


Performance criteria might be defined as those goals, objectives or ex-

pectations associated with a particular desired level of socio-economic activity.

Performance criteria have their basis in the facts, values, beliefs, goals, felt

needs and problem situations that relate to each of the above mentioned levels

of institutional and economic activity. The following discussion attempts to

identify some of the conflicts and comply imentary aspects of the goals both with-

in, between and among the institutional levels.

Associate Professor of Food and Resource Economics, University of Florida

Public Policy Goals for
Small Farm Development

Policy makers and governments experience varied potential conflicts when

considering policy alternatives to stimulate growth and development within

the small farm sector. Two areas for potential conflictnamely welfare, and

production and tradecan be subdivided into a number of other specific con-

flict oriented situations.

Performance criteria related to welfare embody such conditions as income

levels and distribution, health conditions and various opportunities for in-

dividuals to obtain an acceptable standard of living. A problem with the
welfare objectives is that often those individuals associatedmanipulating

an economy are in conflict relative to equity and income distribution criteria.

For example, owners of land and the major factors of production may be in con-

flict with those who they employ to work in their firms and industries. La-

bor and the owners of the factors of production are in conflict relative to

general welfare criteria of the country. Small farmers are often left be-

hind by the commercial industrial economy because they are not major owners

of the factors of production and because, if they are fortunate, they may be

considered a labor pool for development of the capital sector. Various at-

tempts at land reform and means to redistribute factors of production result

from the discontinuity in factor ownership among high and low income users of


Also in conflict are the two general economic participant groups in the

agricultural economy-rural producers and urban consumers. Any attempt made

to improve producer income directly through programs to increase market prices

may result in a reduction of consumer welfare. Similarly as productivity and

production increase relative to effective demand causing prices to fall, con-

sumers gain in general while farmers lose. Of course, large farmers capable

of assimilating the latest technological advances into their system of pro-

duction tend to gain more than do small farmers who are not able for various

reasons to adopt the new technology. Thus, income distribution in-this par-

ticular situation tends to favor the large producer. Your perspective rela-

tive to performance criteria and the development process will be affected

significantly if you are representing, in support of or a participant in one

of these differing levels of economic activity. Our individual and group

felt needs dictate how we will enter the welfare debate about appropriate

performance criteria for improving the plight of the small farmer in the

United States or in any other country.

Another set of performance criteria relative to small farm development

encompass various goals related to augmenting agricultural production, inter-

regional trade and international trade. Traditionally one of our primary

criteria for evaluating agricultural and economic development has been through

aggregate changes including gross national product or similar measures re-

lated thereto. Sub goals or political objectives associated with changes in

gross national product suggest that production on sectoral or industrial

levels should increase rapidly and with sustained growth impacts over time.

But this goal can be in direct conflict with the welfare criteria discussed

above. Possibly the largest producers, the owners of the factors of produc-

tion, hold the greatest potential for augmenting gross national product. To
to achieve
achieve this end, however, it may be necessary to exploit labor those oppor-

tunities attained through large scale economies.

Production and trade criteria also include obtaining and maintaining self

sufficiency in agricultural production. Persuit of the self sufficiency goal,

with all of its various political implications, can imply that economic effi-

cency will not be fully attained in areas where the country does not hold a

comparative advantage in production of a particular agricultural good. Thus,

this criteria can be in conflict with those criteria that desire to augment

gross national product to the maximum extent possible. Self sufficiency

criteria, however, may favor small farm development. For many basic food-

stuffs small farmers may hold a relatively good position in terms of their

ability to produce the items at relatively efficient cost levels.

Contrary to the self sufficiency performance criteria are those who

would desire to make international and interregional trade as free of var-

ious trade barriers as possible; or at least the desire is to make trade

freer for the exports of a given country and to maintain the somewhat incon-

gruent objective of some protectiontwhere it is necessaryto help develop

viable internal production systems. The conflict between self sufficiency

and free trade criteria has a very definite impact on small farmers and var-

ious agricultural producers because of the varied levels of economic effi-

ciency and biological efficiency associated with the production of different

food crops. Those producers with resources available to produce items that

can compete in a free trade environment would be favored by a free trade

policy.s eas those who are producing items that would not compete very well

on world markets favor programs of self sufficiency so that importation of

competing products is restricted.

Thus, in observing some of the potential areas for performance criteria

conflicts associated with small farm development at the government level we

see that numerous conflicts are possible. The welfare criteria are not always

congruent with the general production and trade criteria. Likewise the var-

ious potential areas for specific performance criteria within the welfare

group and within the production and trade group also hold a number of potential

conflict situations.

Yet with all of these conflicting performance desires at the government

level most will agree that the plight of the small farmers in the world is

one of the most critical concerns of our time. The implications of low in-

come in agriculture for those limited resource producers relative to other

alternatives in the economy are very critical. Experience shows that pro-

bably the best place to maintain the human resources associated with small

farm agriculture is in rural areas. Until training programs and employment

opportunities are such that these people can be adequately assimilated into

the more urban oriented economies and industries of a country, very little

can be expected from a program to augment agriculture production oriented

to only the large farmers. Without assistance to the small farm segment of

the world society we cannot expect that this group of people can make a sus-

tained and active contribution to the economic development process either

through the supply of their human resource or as an effective demand to stim-

ulate economic activity in the remainder of the economy.

Goals At The Industry Level

Performance criteria at the industry level focus primarily on efficiency

and economic welfbeing of the industry itself. Without a lengthy definition

of an industry relative to sectors and subsectors let me state that the "in-

dustry level" is concerned with the general group of farmers and marketing

people related to the agricultural sector. Not considered are the more ag-

gregate government level activities and the firm-family level decisions.

Concerns for efficiency at the industry level have a definite impact on

the small farm development criteria or goals of an economy. Small farmers

by their very nature tend to experience scale economies that are not geared

to the more commercialized input and product markets. Beacuse of these scale

economies, lenders of credit, farm supply firms and those firms that buy

agricultural products often desire to work with the larger units because it

is here that volume purchases and sales can be made at greater returns.

Without cooperative effort or other means of augmenting the size of pur-

chases and sales made by small farmers, this group of agricultural producers

naturally stands at a disadvantage within an industry structure focused on

large scale economies. Thus, the goal of economic effiency and the associated

goals of market and price inefficiency may not be conducive to small farm

development as desired by many individuals in government and at the small

farm firm level. It is true, however, and often stated that under certain

circumstances small farm operations can be very efficient in use of agricul-

tural inputs and cost competitive in production of their outputs. This con-

dition contributes to the economic well being of the industry but at the

same time does not allow the industry itself to become competitive by util-

izing the scale economies that might come with somewhat larger firms. It

then is possible that there are conflicts between production efficiency and

the more aggregated needs of marketing and price efficiency.

Concerns related to the economic well being of an industry consisting

of small farm producers would be primarily focused on the demand for pro-

ducts produced by the industry itself. It is at this point that concern is

expressed for the inelastic nature of the demand for agricultural products

and services associated therewith. The industry itself through group action

becomes a bargaining agent to attain various goals associated with main-

taining specified price levels and demand situations for their products.

Maintenance of price levels commensurate with the needs of the industry can

be in conflict with desires held by consumers in the economy as well as de-

sires to maintain reasonably low non inflationary food prices at the national

level. Desires within the industry to augment agricultural productivity

then encounter basic differences in the Pase and difficulty for small far-

mers versus large farmers in adoption of new technologies. The industry

becomes a powerful force in influencing decisions made at the government

level concerning production and trade policy and the degree to which free

trade versus self sufficiency criteria will be pursued relative to the pro-

ducts of the particular industry involved. We are indeed encountering the

new industrial state.

A final and important goal of the industry in the quest for performance

criteria acceptable to government and firm level decision makers is the role

of communication between firms and governments. The degree to which indus-

try level leaders are representative of the felt needs, belief, values, and

goals of firms suggests how well the industry serves the needs of small far-

mers. It is true, however, that industry leaders may hold important positions

within the government and in that sense be psuedo representatives of the gov-

ernment. Should this be true the industry level then becomes a meeting ground

for conflicting goals of the government relative to desires at the small farm

level and in turn a place where final decisions are made that have signifi-

cant development implications for the small farm sector.

The Small Farmers Development Goals

The small farmer is primarily concerned with the economic well being of

his own firm and the impact his economic position baa on the present and

future situation for his family. With this in mind let us attempt to view

the small farm development performance criteria from the eyes of the small

farmer himself. Most basic in his eyes is a desire to at least subsist to

maintain his family from year to year and avoid the general instability

situations beyond his own control associated with markets and production re-

quires cautiously developed managerial skills not very well understood by

many outside of the small farm system. To attain the subsistence objective

he must identify those production processes, commodities and markets that will

allow him to minimize the risk of failure and, worst of all, the possibility

of hunger, malnutrition and serious disruptions in the family process.

Risk perception and risk aversion then become major performance criteria

determining how the small farmer will react to various potential means of im-

proving his economic status. He will adopt agricultural technologies that

he perceives to be within the realm of risk maximums acceptable for his own

income and asset position. Should the probability of success run very high

for a given improved practice yet be associated with a very high probability

of failure, the farmer is less inclined to adopt the new practice than he is

to maintain production with a technology that has very little probability

of raising his productivity but at the same time a very small probability of

lowering his production on an annual basis. Being a rational economic man

the small farmer is not willing to risk the chance of being hungry one year

simply to apply a new practice when his income and asset position are not

sufficient to provide insurance for even periodic failures of the new prac-


Thus, limited resource producers, those individuals with low incomes

usually cannot operate with highly variable technologies even though the

average income position may be quite high for a ten year period for example.

These farmers will select the production possibility that yields the lowest

probability of failure even though the average income expected over the ten

year period may be significantly less than it might be with other practices.

With a farm family risk aversion goal superseding performance criteria

expectations of the government comes a major incongruous situation concerning

small farm development. A general reaction has been that farmers of small

units are backward, traditional in their behavior and irrational relative to

their economic behavior in using new technologies to foment productivity in-

creases from their scarse resources. I submit that these accusations are not

valid. The governetr( has entirely different performance criteria associated

with small farm development than do the small farmers themselves. The gov-

ernment is seeking high levels of agricultural productivity and production

while the small farmer is seeking a stable, secure, low risk family main-

tenance environment.

Research and Development Criteria
For The Small Farm Sector

Research and development organizations often pattern their performance

criteria for agricultural development after those of the government. Fund-

ing often dictates that this practice will be followed. These performance

criteria usually also are not differentiated for the small farm and the large

farm. Most agricultural research stations throughout the world are concerned

with increasing agricultural productivity relative to the use of land and

labor with emphasis on the use of other non traditional factors of production.

Specifically most agricultural researchers are concerned with yields per

unit of land or yields per animal unit. The rational small farmer, however,

is more concerned about yields associated with the scarce and costly factors

in his production system. If the farmer views his real or opportunity costs

for land as being very lcw, then he may not consider land to be his scarce

factor of production even though his farm unit may be rather small. Given

his farm systemhe may view those factors of production requiring financial

investments on an annual basis as being the scarce factors of production.


Thus, he may not apply fertilizer to his land at rates necessary to maximize

rBs per unit of land. Instead, his fertilizer may be applied in such

a manner that he approximates an optimum in yield obtained per one hundred

pounds of fertilizer applied. He may follow similar practices relative to

seed density and row spacing where it is necessary that he buy improved seed

every year. For water use, where there is a cost associated with obtaining

the irrigation water, the farmer again may not optimize productivity relative

to land use but relative to the amount of water required to gain a given

amount of production. Livestock production may provide some rather interest-

ing situations where farmers may not be so concerned about yields per animal

unit but about returns per unit of pasture land required to produce an animal

or gallon of milk relative to the value of that pasture land in the production

of a crop such as basic grains.

The implications of these varied objectives associated with farm manage-

ment decisions at the small farm level are rather significant with respect

to research programs designed to help small farmers. If the research itself

is to have an impact, the researcher must view the agricultural production

situation from the eyes of the agricultural producer or the small farmer.

This vantage point will require that the researcher restructure his experi-

ments to provide for optimal development of improved practices relevant to

scarce resources at the small farm level. This does not imply that the very

basic genetic research is without relevance. But it does imply that applied

research designed to develop adaptable practices for use by small Ifarnirs

must consider performance criteria of small farmers if research and develop-

ment programs are to stimulate an impact on the production and marketing sys-

tem at the small farm level. The question then arises as to how a research

institution can successfully meet some of the performance criteria of the gov-


ernment and simultaneously fulfill the needs of small farmers. The goal

imposed on the research group is to augment agricultural production to meet

rational needs and improve the basic income situation without undue risk to

small farmers.

There's no easy solution to the above dilemmas. The easy solution is to

continue as we have in the past. That is, primarily viewing agricultural

productivity successes from the pohit of view of yields per unit of land or

aggregate percentage changes from previous years. The easy solution however,

is not going to account for the other basic objectives of the government re-

quiring that certain welfare expectation be met relative to small farm incomes,

migration from the rural to the urban sector and the general overall distri-

bution of income within the economy.

Recent research programs designed to accommodate small farm development

in the United States and provide for rural income opportunities to reduce

the urban migration and employment problems have run headlong into difficul-

ties associated with incompatable performance criteria. We generally assume

that the farmer desires to maximize his income from a small farm operation.

It may be true, however, that a farmer is involved in agricultural production

as a secondary income source and as a means of meeting other socio economic

criteria. For example, the small farmer may believe that the rural area is

the best place for him to raise a family both in terms of the social and

cultural characteristics of rural life as well as economically because the

cost of living may be less than what he would experience in an urban center.

Thus, it may be that the small farmer is willing not to make a profit on his

agricultural enterprises as long as serious losses are not incurred. For this

farmty the farm iS an added potential income source and also a source

of food to use at home.iPrograms designed to aug ment vegetable production


on farms in North Florida, however, have encountered a situation where small

farmers are not hobby farmers but are desirous of attaining some marginal

income from their farming operation and the access to fresh vegetables, on

a seasonal basis, both to improve the quality of their consumption and to re-

duce the supermarket bill. To expect, however, that vegetable production can

be a solution to the small farm and rural development problem in the United

States as perceived by some may expect too much of one commodity and its

production distribution potentials. To expect that vegetable production

might be a viable socio-economic supplement to the rural way of life may be

realistic if we understand very well the appropriate government and firm-

family performance criteria associated with this goal.

Performance Criteria for
Small Farm Development

To bring order from the chaos of conflicts resulting from differing ex-

pectations at various levels within the institutional framework that sur-

rounds small farm development requires that we return to an understanding of

the basic desires and goals of farm families. A full understanding of the

felt needs of small farmers may ypvide a basis for the evolution of accept-

able and functional programs at all levels within the institutional frame-

work desiring to assist small farmers. Thus, the basic concern is to under-

stand the small farmer, how he thinks, why he takes particular actions,

what he desires for his future, how he perceives his own environment and

finally where he believes that outside sources can help him more fully con-

tribute to rural development.

A conceptual model, presented in figure 1, provides a basic framework

from which to consider some of the needs and recommendations to follow con-

cerning performance criteria and small farm development. Each item listed

Figure 1: A Conceptual Model of Small Farm


in the conceptual framework is a study in itself and contains many important

factors where discussion is beyond our space and time limitations. Neverthe-

less the understanding of the general framework within which the small farm

production process functions can be enhanced by considering the general re-

lationships displayed in the conceptual framework. We begin by assuming that

an important concern at all levels is small farm production. The concern is

manifest in general contribution that the farm firm makes in added product

to the national economy, to the industry's well being and finally to the con-

sumption and income position of the small farmer.

The magnitude of the output realized at the small farm level is dependent

upon four major conditions. These are: the production system, the market

system and incentives, family consumption requirements, and risk aversion.

Most often we focus on how the production system influences small farm pro-

duction and then we turn "some" consideration to market incentives but fail

to give due concern at all to family consu tion and risk aversion necessities.

Family consumption possibly is one of the most important items influencing

small farm production. Here I would include not only the level of consump-

tion but the basic security and subsistence needs of the family. Influencing

family needs are conditions such as family size, the resource position of the

family and socio-cultural preferences. The economic status of the family

directly affect the degree of risk the family is willing and able to assume

in the production process. Risk aversion then is dependAnt upon family struc-

ture, family needs (which in turn are influenced by the resource position of

the family), family size and the basic consumption needs and aspirations.

Thus, it is risk aversion and family consumption that are the first factors

to determine how much the small farmer can contribute to added product for the

agricultural sector in the national economy. Certainly the production-mar-

keting system can limit or facilitate this process.


The production system is basic to small farm production. Items of pri-

mary influence on the production system are the quality of technical know-

ledge available to the farm firm, the farmers ability to assimilate that

knowledge into his operation and his general managerial skills in determin-

ing optimum production patterns within his resource and risk constraints.

Farm supply markets, when coupled with solid technical knowledge provide

the non traditional farm inputs necessary to augment production and produc-
u0 ofhr 1cdat3.
tivity of land a~d labor, The degree to which farm supply markets are effi-

ciently and effectively coordinated, such that prices paid by farmers for

these factors of production are minimized, significantly impacts on the

adoption of new technologies and in turn advances in agricultural production.

Finally the capital position of the small farm and his access to reliable,

timely, well developed and understanding credit programs is a major contri-

butor to the use of new technologies.

One of the most overlooked aspects of food production and distribution

is the market process beginning immediately with the small farmer. Numerous

studies are available that consider rural assembly to urban market systems,

transportation systems, market information systems but seldom do they reach

clear back to the small farmer himself and consider his problems in market-

ing on the first sale of a given product. Integrated small farm production

and marketing assistance focused on the farmers daily concerns is lacking.

Resulting from the small farm production system is an income stream to

the family which determines the level of family consumption and the well being.

If this income stream is adequate, growing and satisfies the needs of the

family, the production process -,ill further be stimulated by investments

and by full time farm operations that are less dependent on off-farm income

sources thereby providing for better management and greater devotion to goals


of agricultural production and productivity. With this added income the

small farm family becomes an effective demand stimulus for the remainder

of the national economy. The small farm firm provides not only food for the

urban sector but also a demand for products of the industrial and service

sectors of the urban economy.

Necessary Considerations

The following is a list of considerations for evaluating performance

criteria for small farm development:

(1) Return to the basics

The process for identifying performance criteria for small farmers

must return to the basics of goal and feltneed formation. That is,

facts, values, beliefs, individual goals, individual feltneeds and

finally specific problems of small farmers as a group must be under-

stood in developing or identifying small farm development programs.

We must not assume that we know what these basic characteristics are

and how they are manifest in the performance criteria and behavior

of small farmers. To assume that we know and to not fully investi-

gate and develop efforts to understand these conditions is a serious


(2) Know Small Farmers

We need to know how small farmers think, to ;now why they desire

particular situations and not to spend an Inordinate amount of time

trying to.define what is a small farmer. Our work should focus on

relative conditions and not be highly oriented to minimum and maxi-

mum catigorizations. If we are concerned about the well being of

farmers and we are concerned about agricultural production, marketing


and consumption in total it seems not congruent with our general

goal to expect that time should bespent clearly defining size

characteristics of those with whom we work. The small farm end of

the agricultural spector needs careful attention but to specifically

define that area can be a waste of time and resources.

(3) farmers are Consumers and Producers

Performance criteria for small farmers must include the concepts

of the farmer as a consumer and'as a producer. The importance of the

conceptual model presented earlier in this section is one of seeing

the linkages between production and consumption.

(4) Theory is Not a Criteria

To fully understand and identify problems of small farmers theory

must not be employed as the basic performance criteria. Instead,

theory is very useful to researchers and to program developers as a

conceptual framework for analysis. Yet to basically understand

what is concerned with the small farm development problem, feltneeds

and goals are the basic criteria fo identifying problems and pro-

gram requirements.

(5) Nor is the Conventional Wisdom

As we avoid using theories as performance criteria we must depart

from the conventional wisdom and conventional classification con-

cepts associated with small farmers. Some d6 these conventional

concepts center around the labor intensive-capital intensive class-

ifications. For example, too much time and too many scarce resources

can be devoted to determining whether we have surpassed certain min-

imum or maximum levels of labor intensity and capital intensity in

the agricultural development process. This is not to say that these


concepts are unimportant but it is to say that the concepts them-

selves should not be the basic performance criteria.

(6) Problems then Tools

Our focus should be to identify problems and needs and from these

to develop efficient and effective tools of analysis, tools for

developing effective programs to attack these problems and tools

to evaluate the success of our development programs. Our approach

should not be to develop tools and then look for a place to use them.

(7) Who is Tradition Bound?

We must begin to think of cropping patterns in non traditional terms.

Non traditional refers specifically to the research and development

organizations that are involved in assistance to small farmers. An

example is to carefully consider the various types of multiple and

interplant cultures used in agricultural production through out the

world. These systems of production are "traditional" systems his-

torically speaking but research scientists have become tradition

bound in assuming that the only and best means of providing for major

advances in agricultural production and world development is through

"modern" mono crop cultures. This assumption and the resulting tra-

ditionally oriented research programming and conventional wisdom

is one of the more serious problems faced by world agriculture.

(8) Small Farmers are Global

At the international level the small farm problem must be considered

in global terms. Small farmers do represent a global society.

Small farm problems are serious, they extend throughout the world

and they must be considered carefully because these people repre-

sent a large body of world consumers, users of agricultural resources


and a potential for either negative socio-political and economic

change or for positive change. In the age of the multinational

corporation world agriculture encounters a multinational small farm


(9) Idealism in check

Finally we need to not let idealism in identifying our needs rela-

tive to small farm development move ahead of reality. This state-

ment itself seems idealistic, yet, if we think carefully about our

efforts and attempt to be sure that every program and every phase

of every program and each recommendation developed is based on very

applied research endeavors, then we at least stand a better chance

of success. The "do gooders" must be properly informed.

Final Concerns

The following is a list of recommendations to be considered as we proceed

through the performance criteria identification process and finally programs

to stimulate change in the multinational small farm sector:

(1) Care should be taken to avoid needless capitalization of energy

dependant technologies into the small farm agricultural production


(2) Performance criteria must be brought into focus with the long run

potential supplies of scarce resources such as energy and water.

(3) Careful consideration should be given to the food production returns

to the amount of integrated resources used such as energy and not

necessarily to the amount of energy employed per farm, per farmer or

per land unit. The concern is with productivity by individual and in-


tegrated scarce resources and less with emphasis on the traditional

performance bases such as land and man.

(4) Divisible technology is necessary as we proceed with agricultural

research such that technologies are in forms that large farmers

may be able to use and at the same time use is possible by small

farmers. If one particular technology is not divisible then off-

setting technologies are necessary to reduce the income distribution

problems associated with technological change in agricultural pro-


(5) The process of introducing agricultural technology at the small farm

level must account for the risk factors associated with the production

and marketing process. Risk is a great concern to the farmer who

stands to lose all of his resources as well as his subsistence pos-

ition for his family. For this farmer is may be necessary to intro-

duce technology on a "stepwise" basis as opposed to a complete pack-

age that must be adopted all at once yet contains risk potentials un-

acceptable to the resource and security position of the small farmer.

(6) Relative to the quality of resources available in the small farm

sector, care must be given to develop technologies and appropriate

performance criteria that parallel the resource situation. We can-

not expect marginal resources to deliver the same productivity and

production reslufts as might the best resources. In many cases small

farmers over time have been related a marginal position in terms

of their access to resources. The individual himself may be considered

marginal because of limited access to the educational programs and

the managerial skills necessary for more advanced agricultural produc-

tion. Similarly this small farmer often is situated on rather un-

Sductive lands which in turn contribute to his small farm status.


Finally, capital programs and capital availability through credit

programs have been limited and marginal for small farmers because

in general it has been easier and more productive to invest money

in large commercial agricultural operations.

(7) Finally research and training programs must not be focused only

on understanding aspirations for small farmers and how they behave

in the production and marketing of agricul--tural products, but also

on projects designed to provide for the changes possible within the

given environment of the small farmer. This will require that in-

dividuals be specifically trained in small farm development as op-

posed to exclusive training for commercialized agriculture. If this

is not accomplishedt we will have fall prey to the first assump-

tion discussed above under necessary conditions; that is that we know

what the small farm situation is without study and knowledge of the

basic feltneed end resource use environment.

This paper has rone~.s~oL some rather vague considerations or phi-

losophies related to the small farm system and its development process. No

answers are provided, biases and judgements are common, yet I hope that some

of the comments made *1l stimulate lively discussion, disagreement and some

agreement such that action will evolve and result in a better understanding

of the behavior of small farmers. Once this understanding is accomplished,

we can learn how to make a significant contribution to improving the economic

well being of small farmers and in turn the contribution 1

that small farmers can make to economic development

in their own countries att[ i m0,AWd.

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