Farmlands, or agricultural landscapes, captures the interest of a number of researchers based at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. On this blog we share information about research findings, activities, events and comments related to our work.

Our interest in farmlands has three roots: farming, landscape and society.
Farming as a practice, including farmers knowledge and labour investments
Landscape as society-nature relations, congealed history, and as space and place
Society as a short form for institutions, gender relations, political economy and scientific relevance

Most Welcome to FarmLandS!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

On returns to scale in agriculture

A short comment on Brian Kuns blogpost Constant returns to scale in Ukrainan agriculture :  Thanks Brian !  The term "returns to scale" opened up an easy googleable way towards empirical results on small scale vs. large scale agriculture: "returns to scale in agriculture". I did one full-time semester in Economics in 1970 so I am bit ashamed that I did not remember the economic jargon better. First hit referred to the well-known inverse relationship between farm size and output per acre. I find it a conundrum that much circulated articles like Jonathan Foley et al. Solutions for a cultivated planet and other in same genre are silent on the social organisation of agriculture. Foley emphasises that the floor rather than the ceiling needs to be raised (increasing area productivity on the worlds low productive farmlands rather than more nitrogen in US and Europe see interview with Foley) but does do not say whether agrobusiness or support to small-holders is the way forward. Foley also on a seminar in Stockholm did not want to answer whether large land acquistions or small holders was the solution.  I don't expect these (natural) scientists to raise the issue of equity, I just want them to include evidence based results from social science on area productivity.  And social scientists should speak with a much louder voice on the problem of feeding 9 billions in 2050.

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