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Type: Journal article
Title: Food vs. wood: dynamic choices for Kenyan smallholders
Author: Peralta, A.
Swinton, Scott M,
Citation: Sustainable Agriculture Research, 2016; 5(1):97-108
Publisher: Canadian Center of Science and Education (CCSE)
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1927-050X
Statement of
M. Alexandra Peralta and Scott M. Swinton
Abstract: Smallholder farmers in many areas of the semiarid tropics are planting exotic tree species that provide alternative income sources, fuel, and building materials. While providing other benefits, these trees often occupy land that could produce annual food crops. This study uses a polyperiod, linear programming model, to explore the opportunity cost of planting Eucalyptus grandis and Grevillea robusta trees compared to crops in the Nyando watershed of western Kenya. Results of the ten-year period wealth maximization model suggest that a representative farmer’s decisions on farm resource allocation are sensitive to changes in the relative prices of short rotation tree products and annual crops. The model also suggests that there are economic tradeoffs between planting trees and crops, as well as between planting different tree species. Timber production is not likely to replace food crops for two main reasons: (1) the high cost of meeting household subsistence requirements from marketed grains, (2) household cash flow needs met by annual crops. Farmers plant eucalyptus for commercial purposes because they can obtain timber products within four years; however if the prices of these short rotation products go down, farmers will prefer to grow timber from high yield grevillea
Keywords: linear programming; farm forestry; Kenya
Description: Selected Paper prepared for presentation at the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association’s 2009 AAEA & ACCI Joint Annual
Rights: Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s), with first publication rights granted to the journal. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (
DOI: 10.5539/sar.v5n1p97
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