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8. Sharmin Et Al. the Agriculturists 10(1) 51-63(2012)

8. Sharmin Et Al. the Agriculturists 10(1) 51-63(2012)

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Published by: Noman Farook on Jul 02, 2012
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 Socioeconomic Analysis of Alternative Farming Systems in ImprovingLivelihood Security of Small Farmers in Selected Areas of Bangladesh
Sadika Sharmin
1
, M. Serajul Islam
2*
and Md. Kamrul Hasan
3
1
School of Health Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia
,
Pulau Pinag, Malaysia
 
2
 Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh
3
Spices Research Centre, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Bogra, Bangladesh*Corresponding author and Email: serajulbau@yahoo.com
Received: 30 December 2011 Accepted: 26 May 2012
Abstract
The present study attempted to determine the economic returns of alternative farming system of integrated farming aiming to address the livelihood security of small farm households. One hundredand sixty small and medium farmers practicing in four different FS such as Crop-Poultry (C-P), Crop-Poultry-Pond fisheries (C-P-F), Crop-Livestock-Poultry (C-L-P) and Crop-Livestock-Poultry-Pondfisheries (C-L-P-F) were selected from Mymensingh, Jamalpur and Sherpur district. The maininformation collected were socio-demographic characteristics of farm households, household incomefrom farm and non-farm sources, size of land holding and farming system followed, livestock andpoultry rearing and pond fish culture, and effect of integrated farming on household income andlivelihood security of small farm households. Data were collected covering one production periodduring 2009-2010. For estimating farm income of small farm household, whole farm approach wasconsidered. Increased number of farm enterprises caused higher farm income. However, consideringthe small farm practices and whole farm approach, the farm income as well as net return was higher forC-L-P-F farmers (Tk. 57002), followed by C-L-P (Tk. 52978), C-P-F (Tk. 20447) and C-P (Tk. 13734)farmers. Some of the most commonly used factors in the assessment of livelihood security includedthose related to household income and expenditure, expenditure spent on food, adequacy of food taken,household structure and facilities, owning household assets, and access to drinking water andsanitation, and other basic needs of farm household. All these socioeconomic factors were found to berelated livelihood security of small farmers in Bangladesh. Women were more involved in incomeearning activities and household decision making with the introduction of integrated farming in smallfarm condition.
 Keywords
: Alternative farming system, livelihood security, integrated farming, small farmers1. Introduction
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populatedcountries in the world and as a result, per capitaarable land is very low. Of the 17 millionhouseholds in Bangladesh, about 80% are smallfarmers and some of these farmers are landless(BBS, 2009). Due to its subsistence nature,agriculture in Bangladesh is characterized bydiversified farming to meet the householdrequirements and to minimize the risk anduncertainty. Small farmers try to develop asmany enterprises as their farming systems (FS)allow within the present socioeconomic andagro-climatic condition, and in accordance withhousehold goals, preference and resources.
The Agriculturists 10 (1): 51-63 (2012)
ISSN-1729-5211
 
A Scientific Journal of Krishi Foundation
 
In this regard, land topography, soil composition,and availability of different inputs along with theenvironmental factors which influence thefarmers in choosing different enterprises in theirfarming are considered. Accordingly, theinterdependence of resources is usually higher insmall farming compared to conventional farmingand it also enhances soil fertility which in turnleads to total production and household income(Taj Uddin and Takeya, 2007).Among all the farm households in Bangladesh of which about 25-30% are either landless or haveland less than 0.05 acre (BBS, 2009). Secondly,a great majority (80%) of landed farmhouseholds are small farmers owning landbetween 0.05 to 2.49 acres. Only 16 and 4% aremedium and large farmers respectively. Farmingactivities in Bangladesh are generallyconcentrated for the production of crops,livestock, fisheries and agro-forestry. Exceptcrops other activities are done mainly around thehomestead area. Moreover, homestead farming isconsidered as alternative to produce necessaryvegetables, fish, poultry and livestock (Islam
et al.,
1999; Hossain, 1996).However, within the given components, farmersproduce different types of enterprises such ascereals, oilseeds and vegetables within the cropcomponent; cattle, goats, sheep and poultry inthe livestock component; and culture and capturefisheries in fisheries component (Islam andBakshi, 1992). Therefore, on the basis of enterprise combination, many types of farmingsystems are found in Bangladesh. Almost all theenterprises are interrelated and interdependent.Again, small farming is integrated in nature andfrom these enterprises farmers try to fulfill all thebasic household needs for their families. Inintegrated farming, crops, cattle, fish and poultryenterprise might have higher profit for farms of all sizes. In particular, medium farmersperformed the best in terms of benefit-cost ratio(BCR) and the absolute of net return per Takainvested (Taj Uddin and Takeya, 2005).An understanding of how integrated farmingcontributes to increase household income of thesmall farmers by improving their livelihoodsecurity might encourage policy makers toimprove the socioeconomic condition of smallfarmers through implementing integratedfarming. Again, farmers would have idea abouthow integrated farming contributes to improvelivelihood security of the household membersunder respective farming system. This study wastherefore, undertaken to examine the integratedfarming practiced under different farming systemand its contribution to household income of small farmers and to determine the presentsocioeconomic condition of small farmersaiming to address their livelihood security beingimproved through integrated farming.
2. Methodology
 2.1. Study area and sampling
The present study targeted mainly small farmersfrom three sadar upazilas of three districtsnamely Mymensingh, Jamalpur and Sherpur,respectively. For simplicity, sample householdswere categorized into two groups according totheir size of holdings as small (0.05 – 2.49 acres)and medium farmers (2.50 – 7.49 acres). Smalland medium farmers who followed therespective farming system as shown in Table 1were selected as sample farmers. Both small andmedium farmers own small size of land andaccordingly, land size (acre) was considered todetermine the size of sample farmers.Three villages were selected from each sadarupazila. A list of farmers was then prepared foreach village in each upazila. From each upazila,respective number of farm households underdifferent FS as shown in Table 1 was selectedrandomly from the list. In total 160 farmers wereselected of whom 130 were small farmers andthose of 30 were medium farmers.
 2.2. Data collection and analysis
For this study, data and information werecollected from the heads of the farm households.The information was collected through directinterview by the field investigators. Followingthe objectives of the study, a structured52
 
Sharmin et al.
 / 
The Agriculturists 10(1): 51-63(2012)
 
 
Table 1.
Sampling design and distribution of farm householdsFarming System (FS) selected Sample farm households Categories of farmersCrop-Poultry (C-P) 50 SmallCrop-Poultry-Pond fisheries (C-P-F) 40 SmallCrop-Livestock-Poultry (C-L-P) 40 SmallCrop-Livestock-Poultry-Pondfisheries (C-L-P-F)30 MediumTotal farm households 160 -
Note: In integrated farming, only major crops and enterprises were selected. In all the FS, only rice was includedin crop component; poultry birds in scavenging condition in homestead areas; pond fishery in homestead area; andrearing cattle was included in livestock component
questionnaire was developed and used for thesurvey. The questionnaire was presented in thefield and necessary changes were made beforethe final survey was conducted. Focus GroupDiscussions (FGD) were conducted to determinegender role and women participation in smallfarming and household activities. The maininformation collected were socio-demographiccharacteristics of farm households, householdincome from farm and non-farm sources, size of land holding and farming system followed,livestock and poultry rearing, and pond fishculture; and effect of integrated farming onhousehold income and livelihood security of small farm households. Data were collectedcovering one production period during 2009-2010.Farm operators or owners of households weretaken as the unit of analysis. The data andinformation so collected were coded, tabulatedand analyzed by using arithmetic mean,percentage and ratio. Most of the analyses weredone by categorizing the respondent householdsinto two land ownerships groups - small andmedium farmers under four different FS.However, sample households were drawn on thebasis of land holding and number of cattle andpoultry birds owned, and farmers practicingpond fish culture.
3. Results and Discussion
 3.1. Sociodemographic profile of farm households
3.1.1. Demographic profile of farm households
 The family and its composition are related tooccupation and income. Table 2 shows thatfamily size is related to the size of holdings.Medium farmers under the FS Crop-Livestock-Poultry and Pond fisheries (C-L-P-F) had largerfamily size (5.75) than the small farmers (4.76-5.65) belonging to other alternate FS.Considering both categories of farmers, theaverage family size of all farmers was 5.25persons, with 32% males and 26% of females inthe 18 to 60 years age category and areconsidered as working members. However, theaverage family size of all farmers (5.25) appearsto be higher than the national average of 5.48members (BBS, 2009). Among the samplefarmers, 29% had no education. Illiteracy rateswere higher in case of small farmers compared tomedium farmers. Considering all farmers, only23 and 30% had primary and secondary level of education (Table 3). However, as the study areaswere near to the sub-urban areas, literacy ratewas considerably higher than the nationalaverage of 66% (BBS, 2009).
 Alternative farming system of small farmers
53
 

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