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Chapter 10

Agricultural Transformation

In Chapter 10 key terms fall into two categories: Economics (including technological change) and Institutional (including politics).   I will examine each category by term.



Cash crops  Crops produced entirely for the market (e. g. , coffee, tea, cacao, cotton, rubber, pyrethrum, jute, wheat).

Green revolution  The boost in grain production associated with the scientific discovery of new hybrid seed varieties of wheat, rice, and corn that have resulted in high farm yields in many LDCs.

Integrated rural development  The broad spectrum of rural development activities, including small-farmer agricultural progress; the provision of physical and social infrastructure in the development of rural non-farm industries; and the capacity of the rural sector to sustain and accelerate the pace of these improvements over time.

Interlocking factor markets  Factor markets whose supply functions are interdependent, frequently because different inputs are provided by the same suppliers who exercise monopolistic or oligopolistic control over resources.

Mixed farming  The first step in the transition from subsistence to specialized farming.  This evolutionary stage is characterized by the production of both staple crops and cash crops and, in addition, simple animal husbandry.

Per capita agricultural production  Total agricultural output, both food and fiber, divided by total population.

Price bands  A fixed range in which prices are free to fluctuate, but not allowed to exceed.

Productivity gap  The difference between per capita product of, say, the agricultural population (i.e., agricultural labor productivity) in LDCs versus developed countries.  It has tended to be wide because of differences in the application of technological and biological improvements.

Specialized farming  The final and most advanced stage of the evolution of agricultural production in which farm output is produced wholly for the market.  It is most prevalent in advanced industrial countries.  High farm yields are ensured by a high degree of capital formation, technological progress, and scientific research and development.  See also subsistence farming.

Subsistence farming  Farming in which crop production, stock rearing, and other activities are conducted mainly for personal consumption, characterized by low productivity, risk, and uncertainty.  See also subsistence economy.

Transaction costs  Costs of doing business related to gathering information, establishing reliable suppliers, formulating contracts, obtaining credit, etc.



Agrarian system  The pattern of land distribution, ownership, and management, also the social and institutional structure of the agrarian economy.  Many Latin American and Asian agrarian systems are characterized by concentrations of large tracts of land owned by a few powerful landlords.  Rural development in many LDCs may require extensive reforms of the existing agrarian system.

Family farms  Mostly small farm plots owned and operated by a single household.

Landlord  The proprietor of a freehold interest in land with rights to lease out to tenants in return for some form of payment for the use of the land.

Land reform  A deliberate attempt to reorganize and transform existing agrarian systems with the intention of improving the distribution of agricultural incomes and thus fostering rural development.  Among its many forms, land reform may entail provision of secured tenure rights to the individual farmer, transfer of land ownership away from small classes of powerful landowners to tenants who actually till the land, appropriation of land estates for establishing small new settlement farms, or instituting land improvements and irrigation schemes.

Latifundio  A very large landholding in the Latin American agrarian system, capable of providing employment for over 12 people, owned by a small number of landlords, and comprising a large proportion of total agricultural land.  See also medium-sized farms and minifundio.

Medium-sized farm  Multifamily farms in Latin America employing 4 to 12 workers.  See also minifundio and latifundio.

Minifundio   A landholding in the Latin American agrarian system considered too small to provide adequate employment for a single family.  A minifundio is too small to provide the workers with levels of living much above the bare survival minimum. Holders of minifundios are often required to provide unpaid seasonal labor to latifundios and to seek outside low-paid employment to supplement their meager incomes.  See also latifundio and medium-sized farm.

Moneylender  In Asia, a person who lends money at higher than market rates of interest to peasant farmers to meet their needs for seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs.  Activities of moneylenders are often unscrupulous and can accentuate landlessness among the rural poor.

Patron  In Latin America, a landlord to whom sharecroppers and other workers owe an economic and often political and social allegiance.

Sharecropper  In the agrarian systems of LDCs, the tenant peasant farmer whose crop has to be shared with the landlord, who usually appropriates a large portion of total crop production.

Shifting cultivation  A peasant agricultural practice in Africa in which land is tilled by a family or community for cropping until such time as it has been exhausted of fertility.  Thereafter, the family or community moves to a new parcel of land, leaving the former one to regain fertility until eventually it can be cultivated again.

Staple food  A leading or main food consumed by a large portion of a country’s population (e.g., maize meal in Kenya, Zambia, and Tanzania; rice in Southeast Asian countries; yams in West Africa; mamoc in Brazil).

Tenant farmer  One who farms on land held by a landlord and therefore lacks secure ownership rights and has to pay for the use of that land, for example, by surrendering part of his output to the owner.  Examples are found in the Latin American and Asian agrarian systems.  See also sharecropper.



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