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Value chain development for linking land-constrained farmers to markets: Experience from two selected villages of West Bengal, India

Niladri Sekhar Bagchi, Pulak Mishra and Bhagirath Behera

Land Use Policy, 2021, vol. 104, issue C

Abstract: Efficient use of limited landholding in farming is the key to poverty reduction and inclusive growth in the agrarian economies like India that have a large number of land-constrained farmers. It is generally suggested that cultivation of horticultural crops in dry season can increase cropping intensity and help in better use of land leading to greater livelihood opportunities and higher farm income. However, limited scale of farming, market imperfections, lack of social and human capitals and failures of policies and institutions pose several constraints to optimum use of land and hence intensification in agriculture. This paper explores if collective farming and participation in value chains can potentially enhance scale of farming by the land-constrained farmers and strengthen their market linkages. The paper is based on experiences and insights gathered through repeated engagements and focus group discussions with land-constrained farmers and other stakeholders from two selected villages under the project Promoting Socially Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural Intensification in West Bengal and Bangladesh (SIAGI) and their nearby markets of West Bengal, India. It is found that collectivization and development of diversified value chains along with off-farm activities can strengthen market linkages of land-constrained farmers. Apart from distance, market assurance and market acceptance also influence choice of markets by the land-constrained farmers. Further, given the limited scope and associated risks of collective marketing, particularly in the absence of enough aggregation opportunities, diversified crop baskets aligned with market demand appear to be more beneficial. However, the choice between crop diversification and cluster development still remains a critical issue and, therefore, requires further scrutiny.

Keywords: Land-constrained farmers; Market linking; Value chain development; Collective; Agricultural intensification; Social inclusion; West Bengal; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105363

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