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Title:Post-harvest loss in tropical soybean systems: Brazilian managers' perceptions and mitigation strategies: two manuscripts
Author(s):Gaudencio Martins, Anamaria
Advisor(s):Goldsmith, Peter D.
Department / Program:Agr & Consumer Economics
Discipline:Agricultural & Applied Econ
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Farmer's perception
Post-harvest Loss
Abstract:As the world population grows and arable land availability is limited, concerns about increasing food production and reducing post-harvest loss (PHL) become more pressing. An extensive literature on PHL focuses on developing alternatives to reduce loss through the adoption of new technologies in less developed countries. The previous research specifically targets small land holders. Very limited attention was designed to analyze post-harvest loss on a large-scale production system, even though this system is responsible for most of the grain production in the fast developing agricultural regions of South America and Africa. Thus, this thesis proposes to understand PHL in a tropical soybean system. This thesis is divided in two individual manuscripts. The first part analyses farmer’s perceptions of post-harvest loss and the second examines a farmer’s decision to accept soybean harvest loss to increase total yearly production of grain. The state of Mato Grosso, in Brazil, was chosen due its large-scale production system (average of 1,113 hectares of soybean area) and because a large part of the soybean area is double-cropped with maize, 38% in 2012/13 according to CONAB (2013). Double cropping or “safrinha” is a new production technology that portends huge productivity increases for low-latitude farms, has interesting implications for PHL. It is commonly thought that increased food production results from loss prevention, but in the case of safrinha systems, increasing PHL can be optimal, as “time” is a binding constraint and weather uncertainty is significant. The objective of the first manuscript of this thesis is to analyze the role demographic characteristics and managerial decision making have on farmers’ perceptions of the level and cause of PHL. The results offer evidence that there is no consensus regarding the main cause of PHL. Measuring loss interestingly does not imply less loss. But understanding that PHL is a management problem, not problem that is uncontrollable, is important for loss reduction. The second manuscript contends that although loss mitigation is important to increase food supply, there exists an efficient level of loss in the case of double-crop systems in low latitude countries. Farmers trade off the benefits of reducing loss with the opportunity costs of an inferior second crop. Farmers appear to be willing to accept soybean harvest loss in order to plant maize earlier in the season to avoid yield risk and increase total production (soybean + corn). The findings show that farmers accept soybean harvest loss in Brazil because “The financial benefits to reduce losses during harvest and post-harvest on their farms are small” and “The economic benefits of double-cropping compensate the costs of soybean harvesting losses. Results also show that farmers who have on-farm storage and define themselves as risk-loving are more likely to accept soybean harvest loss.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:© 2013 Anamaria Gaudencio Martins
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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