Author/s:

Milovanovic, V.
Smutka, L.

Publisher:

Elsevier Ltd

Year of Publication:

2018

It is often questioned whether cooperative agriculture by smallholder farmers can replace individual agriculture. This paper draws on a case study of rice farming in Kurigram district, Bangladesh, and provides insight into cooperative rice farming and potential of mechanization. Various cooperative practices (e.g. group rice harvesting and threshing) have been collectively adopted and used by small-scale rice farmers in Kurigram Sadar ever since the Liberation War of 1971. Rice farming in Kurigram Sadar is characterized by informal community-supported agriculture, which is both labor intensive and inefficient. Agricultural mechanization and institutionalized cooperative farming can reverse the situation and indirectly contribute to food security. Applied scenarios demonstrate potential benefits of cooperative farming, ranging from an estimated 12.6% rise in rice production due to reduced post-production losses and 41.5% increase due to intensified cropping to 92% cost savings through labor substitution. Kurigram Sadar rice farming is of great relevance to other parts of rice-growing Bangladesh as well, as most of the country is dominated by smallholder farmers employing similar agricultural practices.

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