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Title: Determinants of and barriers to commercialisation of subsistence farmers in selected EU member states
Author: Fredriksson, Lena
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2013
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The agricultural landscape of the EU has changed dramatically following the last two waves of enlargements in 2004 and 2007. In stark contrast to the farm structure of the EU-15, an important characteristic of the New Member States (NMS) is the predominance of small-scale farming. As of 2007, 5.3 million or 66% of farms in the NMS produced mainly for their own consumption. Commercialisation of this group of farmers is hence important Jor rural economic growth and is included as one of the goals of EU Rural Development Pollcy (RDP) which aims at increasing the competitiveness of agriculture and improving the quality of life of people in rural areas. Against this background, the objective of this research has been to investigate determinants of, and barriers to, commercialisation of small, predominantly subsistence oriented fanners in the EU NMS. This research uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods. The quantitative part is based on a utility maximisation framework where the decision making unit considered is that of the agricultural household. This work consists of a two-step econometric analysis of determinants of market participation and the degree of market integration. This analysis builds upon a unique dataset collected through the EU FP6 programme SCARLED covering rural households in five selected EU NMS: t ~'d Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia. The qualitative part consists of in- ..;.~~.... aeptb interviews with rural Bulgarian households drawn from the SCARLED survey F" ~,.-:.- \..;. . ..., ,r. -~-- :I: •.•. _. : ! l • sample. The combination of the two approaches was applied with the view to allow a more comprehensive picture of the research topic to be painted compared to what could have been achieved by applying either of the two methods in isolation. A surprising result from this research is that the binary decision of whether or not to sell agricultural output does not appear to be limited by binding constraints such as transactions costs, which in agricultural household models are widely considered as impeding market participation. Similarly, the results suggest that if subsistence .farming, as has been bypothesised, constitutes a potential poverty trap, there does not ~ppear to be any inevitability about that strategy. However, the subsequent analysis of the degree of market integration, measured as the share of output sold, puts this flrst result under a different light. This analysis indicates that transactions costs as well as the endowment of productive assets, specialisation, and risk attitude are important determinants of commercialisation of rural households in the five NMS studied. In addition, the qualitative analysis identifies important welfare aspects of subsistence fanning which are also likely to constrain market integration and hence impact on the persistence of subsistence farming in the EU NMS. With regard to policy measures that could favour commercialisation and improve life in rural areas, this research has identified some possible issues policy makers may need to consider for the successful implementation of RDPs in the NMS.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available