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Title:Conceptualizing the economic behaviour of Nigerian small-scale farmers: an empirical test of two hypotheses
Author:Adubi, A.A.ISNI
Periodical:The Nigerian Journal of Economic and Social Studies
Geographic term:Nigeria
small farms
Abstract:Of the many hypotheses which have been posited to explain the economic behaviour of small-scale farmers, two stand out clearly. The 'efficient-but-poor' hypothesis ascribes to the peasant household the motivation of profit maximization and postulates that farmers are efficient given their background and opportunities. The 'safety-first' hypothesis ascribes risk aversion to the farmer and postulates that the farmer's decisionmaking is constrained by unwillingness to accept a net income below a certain level. Based on farm household survey data obtained by extension agents in the Oyo North division of Oyo State Agricultural Development Project, Nigeria, between 1989 and 1996, the present author tests the two hypotheses, matching farmers' observed behaviour with expected behaviour and determining possible combinations of the two hypotheses that provide farm stability on the efficiency frontier, indicating the trade-off between farmers' zeal for security and their drive for efficiency. The results indicate total support for the 'efficient-but-poor' hypothesis. However, farmers' resources are far from efficiently allocated and utilized, and increased production could be achieved through improvements in the allocation of available resources and adjustments to the existing agricultural production pattern. Bibliogr., sum.