2. Types of Farms around 1990

As a result of this process of differentiation, today, a large number of different socio economic types participate in land cultivation. If this process has matured more in some regions than in others, this influenced less the emergence of the types described below than the scope of their existence.
Contrary to former times, a, differentiation must be made between two groups of farms or farm households:

1. Those which have enough land to enable them to earn their living from agriculture. These households usually concentrate their efforts an farming and take advantage of the possibilities offered by modern technologies. They try to increase their income by practising good cultivation and aim at good husbandry. This group consists of

  • large landowners (landlords),
  • 'progressive' farmers,
  • `economic holdings.'

2. Those which do not have enough land to be able to earn their living from agriculture. They try to improve their living conditions by taking up nonagricultural activities but are not always successful. Their goal is to achieve a better income by using all the resources at their disposal, land, labour and sometimes some capital. Their interest in agriculture is sometimes limited, often imposed by the lack of alternatives. The young generation often looks forward to a life outside agriculture. This group consists of

  • households with multiple employment,
  • households with `household production',
  • holdings of aged people,
  • marginal existences.

In detail, the different types can be characterized as follows:

Group I with sufficient land

Large Landowners (Landlords)

The number of large landowners decreased considerably because of inheritance, land reform and precautionary measures to limit the impact of future land reforms. They wanted to maintain their standard of living even after the size of their farms had been reduced and therefore tried to make the most of the possibilities which the modern technologies offered. This often caused an intensification of land use. Many `petty Landlords' became progressive farmers although one can still find feudalists of the old type who have hardly been influenced by the developments of the last 30 years.

`Progressive Farmers'

This group emerged when it became possible to achieve a high income in agriculture as a result of modern technologies being introduced. Consisting partly of small landlords and partly of active farmers who tried to enlarge their holding by renting in land or by taking land from relatives who gave up agriculture, this new group practises a market integrated agriculture and earns a high income. Economic power often leads to political power. Today, this group has many representatives in district and provincial assemblies.

`Economic Holdings'

These family farms with sufficient land, especially in irrigated areas, experienced a considerable increase in income. They are market integrated and managed according to modern methods. Some have discovered animal husbandry as a niche which brings advantages to family farms. Common among this group is the great interest of all family members in agriculture along modern lines. This does not hinder a son from sometimes taking advanced training in view of obtaining a, nonagriculturaljob.

Group II that has insufcient land to provide a living

The number of households belonging to this group has increased considerably in the past. Since they do not have suf&cient land, they have to use all their resources to secure survival. This often occurs outside agriculture. Therefore, they are not households which apply all their labour an the farm and live off the proceeds of the farm. Often, the household members' interest is not or only partially focussed an the farm. In other words, they lack the characteristics of a typical small farm.

Some of the members work off farm, and the families' subsistence then depends partly upon the nonfarm income. If no non farm employment opportunities are available, an attempt at improving the standard of living is made by producing themselves the household requirements and by avoiding expenditures. Sometimes, the household consists of an old couple only. This means that support is not needed for a whole family. Finally, there are also households which have not been successful in their attempt to improve their income.

Households Practising Multiple Employment

Differences in family and farm structure, in resource endowment in the region and in the level of economic development have brought about different types of multiple employment:

Individual Income Combination

The cultivator himself takes up non agricultural work as main or side occupation or works as an agricultural labourer an other farms. This type is necessary if there are no children of working age. Difficulties exist because of the seasonality of agricultural work demand and the daily care which livestock needs. Therefore, the second job can only be taken up locally, where job opportunities are usually limited, except near cities.

Household Income Combination

One or more sons take up non agricultural employment or work as agricultural labourers. They can work locally or in distant places, even abroad, an a permanent basis or whenever work is available.
Others divide their working life into two sections: up to the age of 45, the men work outside the village while their fathers operate the farm. When the latter become too old, the sons take over cultivation. But at that time, the children are usually of working age. This form is to be found in remote areas where it is difficult to find employment. Quite a few have a long term contract with the army and later receive a, pension or severance pay. The precondition is that the children be willing to give at least part of their salary to their family, but this is often the case. The amount varies very much.

`Extended Family Economy'

Nuclear families maintain close social and economic ties even after migration. A network of cooperating families of various types is emerging with the farm as centre. The urban branches of the extended familv receive foodstuffs from their parents' farm as support or for sentimental reasons, sometimes let the pre school children live an the farm to save rent in the city, and have the right to return an important security. In return, services are offered in the form of help during harvest time or remittances. These do not have to be regular, but are effected whenever needed for Investments or repairs.

In all these cases, not all family members work an the farm, and the family does not depend upon the farm income alone. The family's interest is not centered an the farm, but an increasing its income by every possible means. The more income is earned from outside, the more the interest in agriculture shrinks. Cultivation is then practised only to produce a few staple foodstuffs and to have the option of transferring the emphasis in case circumstances change.

Some of these households invest in agriculture and try to develop into economic holdings by renting in land, etc. Most of them are likely to lose interest in agriculture, at the latest with the change of generation, especially if the farm is small and the land is of poor quality. Not every farmer's son is interested in continuing farming. The young people's goal is access to income, not necessarily to land. Farming is only one of several options.

Households with `Household Production'

It is not likely that everyone will find a non agricultural job, and sometimes there is no suitable person in the family. The strategy for improving the income is then to produce whatever possible within the household to satisfy their own needs or to sell the products. This can comprise the following:

  • production of charcoal, gathering firewood, weaving mats, renting animals, producing ropes
  • avoiding expenses by assuming maintenance work, repairing buildings, tools and clothing, etc.

Often, this occurs over a period of transition until a child is old enough to take up non agricultural work. The activities of women, especially processing and preparing foodstuffs, play an important role here.
Income is generally low in these households and, therefore, land cultivation has to be extensive. As a result, many households are experiencing a downward trend.

Holdings of Aged People

Cultural and economic criteria determine the handing over of the farm to the next generation. If a father and his son live and work an the farm and the son takes over when the father becomes too old, the farm size does not undergo any change. The only changes that might occur are likely to concern the intensity of cultivation or the number of animals. In other cases, the father hands over some of his fields when the sons marry but retains other fields which he cultivates himself. As he grows older, he transfers more and more land to his children according to his reduced working capacity. However, the father will always keep some land for himself in Order not to depend upon his children.

Sometimes, all of the children migrate to town. The father then tries to cultivate his land as long as possible and adjusts his work to his capacity by renting out land or by extensive cultivation. In the absence of other old age securities, he cultivates (or hires labourers) to secure his subsistence.

These `holdings of the aged' are residual farms. They exist not because of their owners' interest in agriculture, but because they are a form of social security. The income has to be sufficient for an old couple only (or a widow with children), not for a family. Cultivation is extensive. Modern technologies are not applied, and investments are not effected. Often, a considerable disinvestment occurs.

Marginal Existences

Some households that do not have sufficient land cannot find means of earning an additional income. Remote locations or personal circumstances such as sickness, disability, etc. play a role. These households live in extreme poverty and often have to sell their land gradually. The land is cultivated, but without investment, and the yields are low. Some of these poor people migrate to the urban areas in the hope that they will find better opportunities.

Of course, there are transitions between the two main groups of agricultural households those with sufficient land and those which do not have enough land to secure their existence. Owners' activities. inheritance or the increasing number of workers during a, family's changing life cycle may result in a too small farm becoming an economic holding.

However; the opposite takes place in the majority of cases. The polarization between economically sound farms and such cases that do not provide a living is increasing. In practice, households with sufficient land usually develop upwards, while those without sufficient land tend to develop downwards. The experience that, in spite of all efforts, agriculture does not bring an improvement to their living standard causes them to lose interest in farming or to consider agriculture as a necessary evil. Especially at the time of change of generation, they will actively try to find means of existence outside agriculture. The land may bring then an additional income or constitute a security in case of loss of employment. Sometimes, the land is kept as a place where to live in old age. Often, it is rented out.