Understanding village poultry through the agricultural household model : a systematic literature review
Author(s)Tan, Daphne Hsu Qhin
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AbstractVillage poultry fulfils many roles in the livelihood of rural households such as food security and income generation. Their global prevalence in tropical villages attests to their relative ease of production and low demands on household resources. Nevertheless, such low input-output production systems are plagued by multiple challenges associated with high flock mortality and low productivity. Community-based programmes to raise the physical performance of poultry by targeting technical improvements have met with mixed success. This is partly due to a neglect of the important economic motivations underlying household objectives for village poultry production. The research aim of this thesis is to identify the socio-economic variables relevant to farm-households and which consequently influence intra-household preferences and the resources that households thereby allocate to poultry production. Using the theoretical framework of the agricultural household model, the thesis pieces together a socio-economic profile of rural, semi-subsistence farm-households engaged in village poultry, with the aim of investigating household optimising decisions and within-household allocation of resources, particularly household time. The agricultural household models by Barnum and Squire, and Low, are applied to the economic analysis of farm-household behaviour in semi-subsistence poultry production. The models also provide the conceptual framework for identifying and comparing non-causal relationships that might otherwise be hidden in the diverse and heterogeneous literature of applied interdisciplinary studies. The research methodology is a systematic literature review using best practices gleaned from various disciplines, namely, medicine and healthcare, business management, the social sciences, and inter-disciplinary development studies. The key is to identify, analyse and interpret all available evidence in a way that is unbiased and to some degree replicable, using selection criteria and checks for qualitative and quantitative standards. A total of 17 papers making up 12 studies across eight countries in tropical Asia and Africa were used for the analysis. Findings suggest that across the literature, exogenous household characteristics such as agro-ecology, family size, education levels and gender access to resources were linked to poultry production outcomes. Factors endogenous to the farm-household, such as income and livelihood opportunities were key variables influencing and interacting with the production decisions of households. In the exogenous or external context of a rural economy, market access and institutional factors (credit and extension facilities) affected household optimising behaviour and decisions to engage in production and consumption activities. Gender dimensions were significant in influencing outcomes on poultry and other production activities, particularly in endogenous household labour allocation and exogenous issues of market and institutional access. It is hoped that the insights generated in this thesis could shed light on the economic motivations of farm-households and thereby further the understanding of village poultry production.