Smallholder production remains the majority enterprise model in global
agriculture, largely because of the predominance of household farms in
low income countries. Two salient challenges for the world's rural poor
smallholders are risk and vulnerability. Because of poverty, these
farmers are more likely to experience adverse external shocks than
higher income farmers. In response to this, smallholders have developed
strategies for (ex ante) risk management and (ex post) risk coping.
Policies that seek to alleviate rural poverty can be more effective if
they recognize farmer's own capacity for adjustment and facilitate this
constructively, helping farmers secure the basis for more sustainable
improvements in their livelihoods. To achieve this requires deeper
insight into smallholder behaviour, including a better understanding of
how household enterprises respond to adverse shocks.
This paper examines the case of smallholder poultry production and
adjustments arising from the risk of HPAI infection in Viet Nam. How
farmers can mix three risk reduction strategies: product
diversification, investment in product quality (biosafety), and
development of off-farm income opportunities, to mitigate the adverse
effects of significant animal disease risk, is considered. Given their
findings, the authors aim to provide a basis for complementary policies
that promote smallholder viability while achieving risk reduction, an
approach that increases both individual and economywide welfare.
PPLPI, FAO, Rome, Italy, 20 pp.
External Shocks, Producer Risk, and Adjustment in Smallholder Livestock Production: The Case of HPAI in Viet Nam