Rural Class Structure and Transitions in Family Farming: What Do the Moderate Prosperity Households in Rural Itasy (Madagascar) Tell Us?Rural Class Structure and Transitions in Family Farming: What Do the Moderate Prosperity Households in Rural Itasy (Madagascar) Tell Us?AN10529053
13 , 2017-03-15 , Natural Resource Economics Division Graduate School of Agriculture Kyoto University
Special Issue: Works from "Future Leaders Global Workshop on Social Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment" This article studies the changes and diversification of family farming in Itasy region of Madagascar through the analysis of the class structure of this rural area. We are mainly interested in the Moderate Prosperity class and its formation process through the analysis of its members’ trajectories. Using detailed data from 508 households in the 2008 Itasy Observatory, we first identify the Moderate Prosperity groups by applying a clustering method based on four socioeconomic factors: household income, head of household’s education level, income structure and land tenure. Second, using a panel data from 2005 to 2008, we assess their trajectories by carrying out a sequence analysis. Third, we make a qualitative analysis of interviews conducted among 27 Moderate Prosperity households to explain these pathways. We identify four Moderate Prosperity groups reflecting three levels of accumulation potential. The Vulnerable Moderate Prosperity Households who adopt coping and defensive strategies have a diversified portfolio of on- and off- farm activities. The Emerging and Traditional Moderate Prosperity groups that are involved in adaptive strategies respectively rely on polyculture and rice farming. The Upper Moderate Prosperity households who clearly adopt accumulative strategies combine intensive farming with high-return non-farm activities or employment. The development of these livelihoods seems to result from a progressive integration into larger markets and different types of capital endowments. Findings show that changes in family farming in Itasy maintain strong rural roots, are developed around on- and off-farm diversification, and are still based on the family production unit.