Fragmentation of Irrigated Family Farms in Southern India

  • Frédéric Landy

Indian economists use the term ‘peasant’ to describe the farmer who possesses sufficient means of production (land, livestock) to employ himself and his family but not enough to employ others. In practice, however, this exact situation almost never exists. Either the farmer, who is rather poor, decides occasionally to work or send a family worker to work as a farm labourer or a migrant worker; or, in spite of his poverty, he is forced to hire labour for work-intensive farm operations (transplanting rice, harvesting, etc.), even if only for a few days a year. It is true that this may be in the form of unremunerated exchange of labour between neighbours or relatives rather than real employment, and it is definitely never permanent employment. In such a context, we are firmly in the domain of ‘family’ farming. The Indian census, which distinguishes between ‘agricultural labourers’ and ‘cultivators’, defines these terms only relatively: ‘agricultural labourer’ is someone who spends more...


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Copyright information

© Éditions Quæ 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédéric Landy
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Paris Nanterre/LAVUENanterreFrance
  2. 2.French Institute of PondicherryPondicherryIndia

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