Small Farms Produce Higher Yield than Large Farms?

Traditionally, people believe that small farms are more productive than large farms. The basis of the argument is that small farmers produce more food per acre of land than large farmers. This is perceived so because less land allows farmers to use the land more intensely by adapting new-age technology.

General Questions Raised due to the Association of Productivity with Farm Size

However, these claims raise an array of questions.

Firstly, the reasons for higher productivity in minor farms.

Secondly, whether the claim stands true only for developing countries like India?

Thirdly, is it applicable to underdeveloped and developed countries?

Finally, are small farmers significantly better compared to larger ones?

India Rural Small Farm

Several Countries Perspectives on Small Versus Large Farms

80% of Indian farmers belonged to the marginal and small cultivation sector during 2002-03. They generated over 51% of agricultural output. This showed small farmers had greater productivity. In agreement, the finer analysis showed a decline in output with an increase in farmland sizes over the years. Additionally, fragmentation enables greater productivity. However, a primary survey in China depicted the opposite. Meaning that rice yield in china per hectare increases with an increase in farm size.

Suggesting the Opposite: Uganda’s Research 

New research from Uganda suggests that smaller farms might be less productive. The study strives to relate farm productivity to farm size. They argue that factors such as subsidies, taxes, techniques, and climate affect the yield per hectare. Their report suggested that with lesser market distortion and stronger market rights, larger farms can produce a greater output. These conclusions were based on data from production in Uganda.

Despite the innumerable claims, it is important to focus on the betterment of agricultural productivity. Rather than focusing on the size of the farm, efforts must be put into factors that have significant effect on agriculture. Even though, small farms produce a different variety of crops we cannot concur that they obtain more yield.

In conclusion, we can agree that irrespective of field size, yields increase with greater mechanization. Small farms were more effective when technology in farming was minimal. Modernisation of technology in farming helps big farms to generate more yield.

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