A Socio-Economic Study of Kelang Village in Yunnan Province in relation to Uptake by Farmers of Improved Management Practices on Red Soils in China
Cuddy, Michael P.
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Cuddy, M.P., (2003) "A Socio-Economic Study of Kelang Village in Yunnan Province in relation to Uptake by Farmers of Improved Management Practices on Red Soils in China" (Working Paper No. 0071) Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway.
This paper reports on the socio-economic outcome of a study of innovative, integrated, agricultural management practices in a catchment near Kelang village in Yunnan Province in south-west China. The focus of these practices, which included biological and engineering measures, was enhanced productivity in maize production and soil conservation on the Kelang uplands. Although these measures did enhance productivity and reduced soil erosion, there is strong evidence that the farmers are unlikely to implement these practices without significant support on the part of the authorities. In particular, investment measures, which have a medium to long-term payback period, will not be implemented without significant assistance from the public authorities. These outcomes follow from the fact that maize production is relatively marginal to the total integrated earning activities of the farm household, where 45% of income comes from off-farm activities, while rice, and particularly tobacco, give a much higher return per labour unit. The critical factor is the "opportunity cost" of labour. If significant off-farm employment exists at a wage above what can be earned from maize production with the new management practices, then the consequence will be that these new practices will not be embraced. The Kelang catchment area is dominated by red soils and has many of the erosion problems associated with these soils which occur extensively across southern China. However, because of their derivation from limestone, the Kelang soils are inherently more fertile. Nevertheless, the results from Kelang have implications concerning the utilization of Chinese red soils in general, particularly the likelihood of uptake by the Chinese farmer of novel and integrated management approaches on these soils based on scientific experimentation.