Farm Resource Allocation Decisions in Smallholder Farming Systems in the Mt. Elgon Region, Uganda
Farm households in the Mt. Elgon region of Uganda are assumed to make decisions on crop production activities, such as the allocation of labour, land and land management practices in order to maximize their welfare. These decisions are usually made under constrained farm resources, which include; land and time. Therefore, farm households often ... have to decide how and where to allocate their resources depending on their objective of production. This study assessed farm households’ labor input in crop production activities, the diversity that exists in the farming systems and the optimal cropping patterns and resources needed to meet farm household objectives. The study results revealed three farm types, that is, the poor-resource endowed farm households, who had less access to arable land and did not sell much of their crop produce, the medium-resource endowed farm households, who had average land sizes and their crop sales were also average and the high-resource endowed farm households, who had access to larger crop lands and their sales from own crop production was highest compared to the other farm types. The classification of the farms showed that different household categories have different farm structures and constraints and therefore have different factors that influence their cropping decisions. The aim of the classification of farms into similar groups was to identify a representative farm condition for the construction of a representative farm model. Results from the multi-objective programming model showed that there exists a competition between the allocation of labour resources towards the production of crops utilized either for household consumption or for generating cash income. Identifying the various constraints of the different farm types provided pathways that can be targeted for further improvements in smallholder farm livelihoods. Such pathways could include targeting certain sustainable intensification strategies of agricultural production to particular farm types based on their constraints. Analyzing farm household behaviour using multi-objective programming models such as compromise-programming could help to assess the potential for adjustments of other crops on farm household livelihood and agricultural policies.