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.
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.
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
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
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
`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.
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.