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A framework to assess the economic vulnerability of farming systems: Application to mixed crop-livestock systems

Abstract : The main challenge for farmers is to maintain a high annual income within an ever-changing context of production (climate, prices, sanitation issues), i.e. to ensure low vulnerability. The vulnerability of a given system corresponds to its susceptibility to be harmed, reflecting its inability to cope with adverse effects. This paper presents a framework that can be applied to determine the economic vulnerability of farming systems considering their social dimension, and to identify farming management profiles that are likely to be less vulnerable. The framework defines vulnerability levels based on analysis of four quantitative indicators reflecting the ‘behaviour’ of the economic results per labour unit in the long term: the relative standard deviation of the economic result per worker, the relative mean distance of the economic result to a minimum threshold, the number of economic disruptions over a specified period, and the economic recovery time after disruption. The framework was applied to a sample of 208 French farms, and the results revealed that diversification alone is not enough to cope with risks. Less vulnerable mixed crop-livestock systems are characterized by more crop-livestock interactions, allowing for less dependency on markets and more flexibility. This kind of management allows farms to be larger and to have more livestock. These findings help clarify the vulnerability of farming systems and may encourage the development of policies to enhance market opportunities at the regional level to foster diversification strategies and flexibility.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 25, 2020 - 2:22:06 PM
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Inès Sneessens, Loïc Sauvée, Hanitra Randrianasolo-Rakotobe, Stéphane Ingrand. A framework to assess the economic vulnerability of farming systems: Application to mixed crop-livestock systems. Agricultural Systems, Elsevier Masson, 2019, 176, ⟨10.1016/j.agsy.2019.102658⟩. ⟨hal-02618316⟩



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