Volume 8, December 2017

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Sukhpal Singh*

Small farm and small farmer viability has been a constant policy concern in India given its smallholder-dominated agriculture. Though there are different definitions of small farm in the literature, depending on local context, the term “smallholder” is a relative one in that it refers to the limited resource endowments of such farmers relative to those of other farmers in the sector in each local context. The Indian small farmers are in a state of agrarian distress, and the farmers’ quest for earning enough from a small farm continues. It is in this context of academic and policy discourse that this article makes evidence-based policy and practical recommendations for replicating the Small Farmer, Prosperous Farmer (SFPF) models of agricultural development in India based on empirical case studies of 35 small (who were just 2 hectares or smaller farm operators) and prosperous farmers (earning at least one lakh (0.1 million)Indian rupees per acre per year) across three states of India— Punjab, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Major objectives of the study carried out in 2012 were as follows: document profiles of SFPFs in terms of their resources, costs, and profits; provide evidence of success (in terms of net income and prosperity) given small holdings; identify major factors in prosperity/success—personal, institutional, and social; and understand the role of policy and business environment, if any; and infer on possibilities of replicability of SFPF success given the other contextual factors in other regions. The study identifies sources of success and policy relevance of such factors for making inclusive agricultural development possible.

Key Words: Small farmers, India, viability, high value crops, inclusive agriculture, Asia, size of farm

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