In this article we will discuss about the advantages and disadvantages of peasant farming.
Advantages of Peasant Farming:
Each farming system has its own advantages as well as disadvantages when compared with other farming system from that angle the traditional farming system has the following advantages.
(a) Better Supervision:
Unlike in industry, the area of operation for a worker in agriculture is very large. Supervision of work always presents a problem. If the size of the farm is small, the owner himself can effectively supervise the work of the labourer and can also guide and direct him to do his job in a particular way.
It, on the other hand, the size of the farm is large and many workers have to carry on their work, spread over a large area, the supervision of their work on personal basic will become difficult. The owner of the farm will have to depend upon various supervision and managers for purposes of supervision and it is quite possible that the supervisors and managers may not work with full devotion and responsibility.
(b) More Employment:
In peasant farming there is generally a greater scope for employment on the farm, when compared with other farming systems. There are many reasons for this.
Firstly, as the farm is small in size, the use of machinery becomes costly and therefore limited. Labour is thus not displaced.
Secondly, the farmer use the labour of his own family and treats it as free labour.
As such, he uses this labour to such an extent that its marginal productivity becomes equal to zero. On the other hand, farming system which used hired labour, employ it only upto the point where its marginal productivity is equal to the wage paid to it. The employment on farms under many system other than the peasant farming is thus much less, when compared with that under peasant farming.
(c) Greater Productivity:
Productivity per acre on a farm under peasant farming is larger than on farms under other systems, when the farms generally happen to be larger in size. The main reason for this is the greater intensity of cropping which, in turn, is due to greater use of labour per acre on small farms when compared with that on a larger farm.
Productivity on a small farm (which is an important feature of peasant farming) is large due to greater use of labour on such farms. A strong motivation to feed the family from a small piece of land also improves the quality of domestic labour put in. The fact that productivity per acre is higher in small farms, has been amply proved by the farm management studies conducted in India during the fifties.
(d) Tenacity of Small Farms:
The fact that small farms are important feature of present farming proves to be a boon from another angle also. In times of emergency, like flood, etc. A small farmer with a sufficient labour force is able to face its onslaught more successfully than a large farmer. Further, as the small farmers generally neither purchase any input from the market, nor sell any output, they remain immune from the fluctuations in the prices of various input or crops.
(e) Possibility of Quick Decision:
Frequent weather and climate changes necessitate immediate decisions on the part of a farmer. Such decisions are more easy to take when the owner himself controls the farm and more easy to implement when he himself is the operator of the farm and when the size of farm is rather small.
Disadvantages of Peasant Farming:
Peasant farming has some disadvantages from which some other farming system do not suffer.
These disadvantages are as follow:
(a) Difficulty in Using Improved Practices and Improved Inputs:
Transformation of agriculture is more difficult when the farms are small in size. Some improvement on the farms like fencing and drainage cannot be effected. Rotation of crops is difficult. Construction of farms buildings is relatively more costly on small farms. Digging of a well is uneconomic. Financial stringency makes it difficult for the peasant proprietor to arrange for the purchase of modern inputs for the farm.
(b) Low Marketable Surplus:
Production of a small farm is sufficient to meet the domestic need of the farmer only. He has surplus of food grains to sell in market. This in turn, hinders the growth the industrial sector because it becomes difficult to sustain those who are working off the farm and are engaged in industrial production.
(c) No Optimum Use of Available Resources:
A small farmer has a pair of bullock and which provides enough of labour for farmer cannot use than optimally because the size of the farm is rather small. The resources of the farmer, than either remains unutilized or are misutilised. The problem of disguised unemployment, especially on small farms is well known.
(d) Weak Commercial Motive:
The small farmers are generally off the market. He neither purchase any input from the market, nor sell any surplus in market. They thus remain uninfluenced by the changes in the market forces. The crop patterns, therefore, does not change with the change in prices often remains un-remunerative.