Over the past several years IFPRI has undertaken research on the production, consumption, and nutrition effects of agricultural commercialization in The Gambia, Guatemala, Kenya, the Philippines, and Rwanda. While it is widely recognized that the commercialization of agriculture is essential to overall economic development, various rural population groups adapt differently to the process of commercialization, depending on the resources available to them, economic and social conditions, and government policies. Many households benefit in the form of higher incomes; others may suffer a decline in income. A particular concern of policymakers has been the effect of commercialization on nutrition. The purpose of these studies has been to analyze the process of commercialization in order to identify key factors that determine nutritional outcomes, with the objective of formulating policies to enhance the beneficial effects of commercialization and minimize the harmful effects. The present report by Howarth E. Bouis and Lawrence J. Haddad presents the findings for the Philippine case study, located in an area on the southern island of Mindanao where a substantial number of households converted lands from corn to sugarcane production after construction of a sugar mill. The main effects of the introduction of export cropping in this area were a significant deterioration in access to land as smallholder corn tenant farms using primarily family labor were consolidated into larger sugar farms using primarily hired labor; an increase in incomes for households that grew sugarcane; a decline in women's participation in own-farm production; and very little improvement in nutritional status as a result of increased incomes from sugarcane production, primarily because of the high levels of preschooler sickness in the sugarcane-growing households. The difficulty of generalizing as to the varied effects of agricultural commercialization is brought out by a comparison with the case study for Kenya (see IFPRI Research Report 63 by Eileen Kennedy and Bruce Cogill), where farmers also switched from maize to sugarcane production. In that African setting, where land is often relatively abundant and labor scarce compared with many situations in Asia, women increased their participation in own-farm production as sugarcane was introduced. Yet there are important similarities as well. As all of the commercialization studies have confirmed, poor health and sanitation conditions are a serious constraint to the improved nutrition that increases in income might otherwise have made possible.


Downloads Statistics

Download Full History