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Risk aversion and land allocation between annual and perennial crops in semisubsistence farming: a stochastic optimization approach

Ouattara, Pierre D., Kouassi, Eugene, Egbendéwé, Aklesso Y. G., Akinkugbe, Oluyele
Agricultural economics 2019 v.50 no.3 pp. 329-339
acreage, agricultural land, annuals, crop production, farmers, income, models, perennials, planting, prices, risk behavior, uncertainty, Sub-Saharan Africa
This article analyzes the effect of production uncertainty on farmland allocation decisions between perennial and annual crops, focusing on a representative farmer's attitude toward risk. A dynamic stochastic optimization model that considers net planting—the difference between new plantings and removals of perennial crops that achieve full production cycle—is used. The effect of uncertainty on the representative farmer's decisions to increase or decrease perennial crops’ acreage, on the optimal path, is examined. Our results reveal that the response of optimal path of net planting to uncertainty related to perennial crop production is highly affected by the farmer's attitude toward risk. A risk‐averse or a low‐risk loving farmer tends to reduce land allocation to perennial crops under uncertainty, while a high‐risk loving farmer will do exactly the opposite. Also, due to disutility of farming, the farmer tends to reduce land allocation to perennial crops when prices are high enough for him to attain a desired income level expectation. One implication of this research is the need for mechanization—in sub‐Saharan countries in particular—that increases per‐acreage yield and output in semisubsistence agriculture.