IDS working papers;265

Safety in small numbers : local strategies for survival and growth in Romania and the Kyrgyz Republic

Published on 1 January 2006

Using a comparative study of farm households from poor rural communities in Kyrgyzstan
and north-east Romania this paper explores the intricacies of a variety of forms of cooperation
in agriculture. The findings highlight the safety net, labour specialisation, asset-pooling
and service delivery functions of different groups that enable rural livelihoods to at times
cope and at times improve in situations of imperfect information, sluggish labour and land
markets and constrained capital markets. The research presented here indicates that small to
medium forms of cooperation provide the rural poor with predictable livelihood strategies
under conditions of uncertainty. Specifically, cooperative action, in the form of groups, substitutes
for imperfect markets. Despite the push for decollectivisation and privatisation
across transition countries there remains a place for encouraging group initiatives, at least
for the medium term, on grounds of both poverty alleviation and agricultural growth.
Keywords: land, productivity, efficiency, assets, Central Asia, institutions

Publication details

published by
Sabates-Wheeler, Rachel


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