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Hierarchy of Agricultural Functions: A Study of Production and Marketed Output in Purnia (North Bihar, India)

Mahmood Ansari, Mahmood Ansari (2010): Hierarchy of Agricultural Functions: A Study of Production and Marketed Output in Purnia (North Bihar, India). Published in: Komol Singha (Edited), Rural Development in India (2010): pp. 276-306.


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There may be a situation for classes of peasantry whereby a peasant-cultivator of a specific class location may not even make both ends meet. A peasant may be in debt. It may not be the net returns for a peasant of this class but the gross yield, which he/she may be seeking to maximize with the burden of debt allowed to be accumulating. In such circumstances, it is clearly futile to reduce all operators to the status of the profit maximizers. It is worth arguing that there cannot logically and realistically be a uniform technology adopted by the peasantry, who are differentiated on the basis of inequality in the resource endowments and land ownership base. In such a circumstance, the minimization of deviations from the average relation between inputs and output characterizing the least-square method of regression analysis to derive a production function is anti-thesis of the differentiation of peasantry. All the operators are not to be assumed to be uniformly profit-maximizers and a uniform technology may not posited to be accessible to all classes of peasantry. It is therefore posited that there are bound to be logically a hierarchy of production functions rather than a unique aggregate function in the agriculture. A unique production function is best suitable for a cross-section of uniformly controlled experimental farms, but not the diverse class of actual farms possessed by differentiated peasantry. What is true of an agricultural production function is equally true of a marketed surplus function. What must not be debatable is the assertion that there is logically a possibility of a hierarchy of marketed surplus functions on the divergent peasant farms of the differentiated peasantry in the district of Purnia in north Bihar, India.

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