Sustainable smallholder farming clusters in the Philippines

J.A. Oakeshott
The context for this paper is the problem of smallholder farmers in the Philippines who face a range of livelihood challenges. Smallholders are family units that exist in a family-labour intensive system with low capital input. These farmers generally have limited opportunities for livelihood improvement because of limited farm size, poor knowledge in production and marketing, and difficulties accessing finance. In the Philippines, a common practice of development agencies in maximising the reach and impact of a farmer focussed assistance program is to organise smallholder farmers for collective action into agricultural clusters. These clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected smallholder farmers who collaborate in production and/or marketing of the same produce in the same supply chains. A cluster can benefit smallholders through increased profits by encouraging innovation, reducing costs, sharing risks and increasing production; however, the management, decision making, and cohesion of smallholder farming clusters is complex, and many of these clusters have failed. The success or failure of clusters can be related to how the cluster farming members respond, adapt and draw on their existing resources and supporting network to become a competitive supplier in their unique and dynamic environments. Analysing interviews from 22 facilitators of agricultural clusters in the southern Philippines, this paper explores the social capital influences on the sustainability and capacity of smallholder agricultural clusters to adapt to their dynamic environments.
Oakeshott, J.A. (2018). Sustainable smallholder farming clusters in the Philippines. Acta Hortic. 1205, 109-116
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1205.12
development, rural, agricultural cluster, smallholder farmer

Acta Horticulturae