Does Farm Structure Matter? The Effects of Farmland Distribution Patterns on Rural Household Incomes in Tanzania - IDWP 157
October 1, 2017 - Author: Jordan Chamberlin and T. S. Jayne
IDWP 157. Jordan Chamberlin and T. S. Jayne. 2017. Does Farm Structure Matter? The Effects of Farmland Distribution Patterns on Rural Household Incomes in Tanzania
This paper is also published as: Jordan Chamberlin and T. S. Jayne. 2017. Does Farm Structure Matter? The Effects of Farmland Distribution Patterns on Rural Household Incomes in Tanzania. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Paper 77. East Lansing: Michigan State University.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This study attempts to evaluate the impact of farmland concentration on rural productivity growth within smallholder households in Tanzania. Conceptually, farmland concentration occurs when relatively few farms have relatively large shares of the arable land resources in a given area. If large farms bring benefits that spillover to surrounding smallholders, then we would expect positive impacts of greater land concentration on growth. If, on the other hand, a small set of large farms dominates production, then growth multipliers may be lower than for areas with more egalitarian land distributions. To address this question, we assemble a variety of land concentration indicators for rural Tanzania, using data from multiple datasets. We use data on farm household income, demographic characteristics, assets and other household-level controls from the 2009, 2011, and 2012 rounds of the Tanzanian Living Standards Measurement Survey – Integrated Survey of Agriculture (LSMS-ISA). We also assemble a variety of land concentration indicators for rural Tanzania at the regional level, e.g., the Gini coefficient of landholdings, based on the 2009 Agricultural Sample Census, which provides a more comprehensive accounting of farms of all sizes than does the LSMS data. The question of whether or not the local structure of land ownership matters for rural growth is important for several reasons, particularly within the African context. First, changes in farm structure are occurring rapidly in many Sub-Saharan African countries, with a major trend being one of increasing land concentration driven by medium- and large-scale land acquisitions in customary tenure systems (Jayne et al. 2003, 2014, 2016; Sitko and Chamberlin 2016; Anseeuw et al. 2016). These studies suggest a de facto move towards greater concentration, under existing land policies. However, despite these indications, farm household survey data—our standard window into empirical assessments of farm structure— are almost certainly underreporting large farm sizes, and thus obscuring true measures of land concentration (Lowder, Skoet, and Raney 2016; Jayne et al. 2016). If, in fact, land distributions matter for agricultural growth, then we must collectively figure out how to pay better attention to what is happening on the ground.