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Problems of size-tenure structure in Bangladesh agriculture and prospects of a land reform programme… Alam, Muhammad Mustafa 1980

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PROBLEMS OF SIZE-TENURE STRUCTURE IN BANGLADESH AGRICULTURE AND PROSPECTS OF A LAND REFORM PROGRAMME IN DEVELOPING THE RURAL ECONOMY OF THE COUNTRY by MUHAMMAD MUSTAFA ALAM M.A.  (Economics), The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1976  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Economics, P o l i t i c a l Science, Sociology) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY.OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l 1980  (c)  Muhammad Mustafa Alam, 1980  In presenting t h i s thesis in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I further agree that permission f o r extensive copying of t h i s thesis f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives.  It i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n  of t h i s thesis f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission.  Economics, P o l i t i c a l Department nf  Sociology  The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5  Date  May, 1980  Science,  ii ABSTRACT  E x i s t i n g s i z e - d i s t r i b u t i o n of farms and land tenure arrangements i n Bangladesh contribute to the perpetuation of i n e q u a l i t y and i n e f f i c i e n c y among a g r i c u l t u r a l households.  A h i s t o r i c a l review of  the land tenure system in Bangladesh shows that some c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s e s s e n t i a l l y r e f l e c t older trends while others are the outcome of more contemporary developments.  Feudal i n t e r e s t s , in the s t r i c t  sense of the term, no longer e x i s t ; however, r e n t - r e c e i v i n g i n t e r e s t s and tenant c u l t i v a t i o n have s u r v i v e d , mainly.under sharecropping arrangements.  With a r a p i d l y growing population, land shortage has  become severe f o r most households.  This has enhanced the economic  s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l status of the r e l a t i v e l y large land owners who continue to hold s i g n i f i c a n t proportions of t o t a l farmland.  The  p a t r o n - c l i e n t r e l a t i o n s h i p between them and the vast majority of landless and near-landless masses has helped maintain a semi-feudal agrarian s t r u c t u r e .  In the absence of an urban sector which can  e f f e c t i v e l y employ the 'superfluous'  labour from a g r i c u l t u r e , income-  earning opportunities f o r a poor r u r a l household are mainly r e l a t e d to i t s land-owning status.  D i s p a r i t y in land ownership being very  high in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , the d i s t r i b u t i o n of income has understandably been s e r i o u s l y skewed.  i ii In considering the r e l a t i o n s h i p between size-tenure s t r u c t u r e and productive e f f i c i e n c y , t r a d i t i o n a l theories are a p p l i c a b l e only to the m i c r o - s t a t i c context.  M i c r o - s t a t i c comparisons  of  a g r i c u l t u r a l performance of d i f f e r e n t s i z e and tenure groups of farms can, at best, help in formulating short run p o l i c y p r e s c r i p t i o n s . For purposes of long-term development, however, p o l i c i e s also need to be evaluated i n terms of t h e i r p o t e n t i a l f o r meeting future needs of the country.  The present study contends that neither of the two  major c u l t i v a t i o n arrangements which e x i s t in Bangladesh  agriculture  (namely, s m a l l - s c a l e owner c u l t i v a t i o n and sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n ) can meet adequate macro-dynamic standards in terms of improved equity and increased e f f i c i e n c y . In discussing the context of land reform f o r Bangladesh, i t i s noted that an ' e f f e c t i v e reform  1  f o r the country has to serve a number  of goals, which include (a) attainment of equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n of income, (b) r a i s i n g the l e v e l of p r o d u c t i v i t y , (c) generating greater employment opportunities and (d) increasing the marketable surplus. A model of land reform which aims t o . e s t a b l i s h a group farming system based o n . j o i n t r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s in ownership, organization and management, seems to o f f e r b e t t e r prospects f o r removing the basic obstacles of s i z e - d i s a b i l i t y and t e n u r i a l d i s i n c e n t i v e s i n agriculture.  Bangladesh  It i s recognized, however, both during the process of  i n i t i a t i o n and during the management phase of a group farming system, numerous p r a c t i c a l problems would be encountered.  The present study  iv suggests various measures f o r dealing with.these problems and, in doing so, seeks to draw upon the experiences of other countries. Whether an e f f e c t i v e programme of land reform can be formulated and w i l l be implemented e s s e n t i a l l y depends upon the nature of the p o l i t i c a l power-base and p r i o r i t y objectives of the ruling e l i t e .  In Bangladesh, although p o l i c i e s of government do  not appear to have been d i c t a t e d p r i m a r i l y by landed i n t e r e s t s , the power-elite has t r a d i t i o n a l l y been seen to cooperate with these interests.  The proportion of a g r i c u l t u r a l households without any  land or other means of supporting themselves has, in the meanwhile, been increasing r a p i d l y .  The impoverishment of a great majority of  r u r a l households, coupled with t h e i r heightening demands f o r amelioration of t h e i r s i t u a t i o n , seems l i k e l y to create p o l i t i c a l circumstances whereby the allegiance of t h i s section of peasantry could become e s s e n t i a l f o r any e l i t e seeking to a t t a i n or maintain p o l i t i c a l power in Bangladesh.  Therefore, the prospects f o r carrying  out an e f f e c t i v e land reform in the country seem better f o r the future than they have been during the past decades.  V  TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT  ii  LIST OF TABLES  viii  LIST OF FIGURES  xi  LIST OF MAPS/CHARTS  .  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . I.  INTRODUCTION  xi i i 1  Purpose of the Study  4  S i g n i f i c a n c e of the Study  5  Survey of L i t e r a t u r e  6  Studies on Farm S i z e , Land Tenure and Agricultural Productivity Studies on Land Reform II.  xi i  CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND PLAN OF. STUDY Conceptual Framework  7 11 20 20  The Relevance of Size-Tenure Structure. . . . . .  20  Objectives of Land Reform  29  D i s t r i b u t i n g Income More Equitably . . . . . .  30  A l t e r n a t i v e s to Land Reform?. . Land R e d i s t r i b u t i o n i n A t t a i n i n g Equity . . Raising the Level of A g r i c u l t u r a l Production  30 34  Adoption of HYVs  39 40  Generating More Employment Opportunities . . .  42  Increasing the Marketable Surplus  44  D e f i n i t i o n of Land Reform  46  Models of Land Reform . . .  49  R e d i s t r i b u t i v i s t Reform  49  vi Reform Aimed at Cooperative Farming  51  Reform Aimed at State Farming. . . . . . . . .  52  Reform Aimed at Group ( C o l l e c t i v i s t ) Farming  54  P o l i t i c a l Factors A f f e c t i n g I n i t i a t i o n and Implementation of Reform  55  Plan of Study III.  58  ORGANIZATION OF LAND IN BANGLADESH AGRICULTURE: AND PRESENT  PAST  H i s t o r i c a l Review  60  Elaboration of Size-Tenure Structure i n Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e  92  Regional V a r i a t i o n s in*Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e . . . .  112  Topographic and C l i m a t i c V a r i a t i o n s  113  V a r i a t i o n s in Cropping Pattern. .  119  V a r i a t i o n s i n Size-Tenure Structure A g r i c u l t u r a l Systems IV.  60  125 129  PROBLEMS OF SIZE-TENURE STRUCTURE IN BANGLADESH AGRICULTURE  136  Problem of Unequal D i s t r i b u t i o n of Income. . . . . .  137  Land Tenure and A g r i c u l t u r a l P r o d u c t i v i t y . . . . . .  140  M i c r o - S t a t i c Analysis  . . .  . . . .  Theoretical Premise  140 140  Conventional Theories  140  An Evaluation of Conventional Theories. . .. 152 Empirical Findings  159  Regression Analysis Bogra and Rajshahi:  160 An I n t e r d i s t r i c t  Study  164  P h y s i c a l - C I i m a t i c Conditions  165  Land Tenure  169  Levels of A g r i c u l t u r a l P r o d u c t i v i t y and Possible Explanations  177  vii Macro-Dynamic A n a l y s i s .  187  Farm Size and A g r i c u l t u r a l P r o d u c t i v i t y  194  M i c r o - S t a t i c Analysis .  194  Theoretical Premise  194  Empirical Findings  197  Macro-Dynamic Analysis  202  Theoretical Premise  202  Empirical Findings  204  Conclusion V.  209  LAND REFORM FOR BANGLADESH  212  Why Land Reform in Bangladesh? . . .  212  Problems and Prospects of Various Models  215  R e d i s t r i b u t i v i s t Reform  215  Reform Aimed at Cooperative Farming  224  Experience of Bangladesh i n Cooperative Farming Reform Aimed at State Farming  234  Reform Aimed at Group Farming  238  Problems and Prospects of I n i t i a t i o n  238  Meeting the Objectives of Land Reform. . . . .  242.  Management of Group Farms. . . . .  250  Popularizing Group Farms Conclusion VI.  224  CONCLUSIONS  .  251.  •  255 259  APPENDIX  267  BIBLIOGRAPHY  271.  LIST OF TABLES Table 1. 2.  Mi Gross Rental Paid by Raiyats D i f f e r e n t Periods . Raiyati  and Under-raiyati  During 71  Holdings i n  the Area that i s Now Bangladesh, 1938-40  76  D i s t r i b u t i o n of Farms Under.Different Size-Categories and the Area Covered by Them i n Bangladesh, 1960 and 1968  93  D i s t r i b u t i o n of Farms Under D i f f e r e n t Size-Categories and the Area Covered by Them i n Selected Regions of Bangladesh, 1974. .  95  D i s t r i b u t i o n of Land Ownership Under D i f f e r e n t Size-Categories and the Area Covered by Them i n Bangladesh, 1977  97  6.  Landlessness i n Rural Bangladesh, 1977  99  7.  D i s t r i b u t i o n of Farms Among the Main Tenure-Categories and the Area Covered by Them i n Bangladesh, 1960, 1968 and 1977. . . 101  8.  Owner-Operated Area and Tenant-Operated Area in Rural Bangladesh, 1960 and 1977 . . . .  105  9.  Percentage of Tenant Households Paying Varying Amounts of Rent i n Kind and.Areas Under Them i n Bangladesh, 1977  106  Percentage of Tenant Households Making Additional Cash Payments Over and Above Rent-in-Kind in Bangladesh, 1977  107  Source of A g r i c u l t u r a l Inputs Applied on Rented Land i n Bangladesh, 1977  109  3.  4.  5.  10.  11.  ix 12.  Percentage of Tenancy Contracts Under Varying Durations of Tenancy and the Percentage of Total Area Covered by Them in Bangladesh, 1977  110  13.  Y i e l d s of D i f f e r e n t Rice Crops in Bangladesh i n D i f f e r e n t Years  122  14.  Percentage D i s t r i b u t i o n of A g r i c u l t u r a l Households by Their Land-owning Status in a Number of D i s t r i c t s i n Bangladesh, 1977. . 127  15.  Percentage of Farm Area Sharecropped i n D i f f e r e n t D i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh, 1960 . . . .  16.  Temperature and Humidity i n Bogra and Rajshahi (averages f o r the period 1966-70).  17.  General Information on Land Tenure i n Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60  170  18.  Percentage of Total Farm Area Operated Under D i f f e r e n t Arrangements by D i f f e r e n t Tenure-Categories i n Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60  171  Percentage of Total C u l t i v a t e d Area Under D i f f e r e n t Tenure-Categories i n Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60  173  Farm Area and C u l t i v a t e d Area Under D i f f e r e n t Categories of Tenure Arrangement in Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60.  175  21.  Farm Implements and Work-Animals i n Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60  181  22.  Indebtedness and Sources of Loan i n Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60 .  183  23.  Farm S i z e s , Input-Use and Land P r o d u c t i v i t i e s of Owner-Cultivators and Tenants i n Phulpur Thana, 1973-74  190  Average C u l t i v a t e d Area and Land P r o d u c t i v i t y of D i f f e r e n t Tenure-Categories i n Dinajpur, Mymensingh and Rangpur, 1973-74  192  19.  20.  24.  130  . .168  X  25.  Value of Production Per C u l t i v a t e d Acre i n Owner-Farms of D i f f e r e n t Sizes i n a Number of D i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh (various y e a r s ) . . .  198  Value of Production Per C u l t i v a t e d Acre i n Owner C u l t i v a t e d Farms of D i f f e r e n t Sizes in the Thanas of Phulpur and Thakurgaon, 1969-70 and 1973-74  200  Total Factor P r o d u c t i v i t y of Farms of D i f f e r e n t Sizes i n the Thana of Phulpur, 1969-70  202  Acreage and Y i e l d of T r a d i t i o n a l and High Y i e l d i n g V a r i e t i e s of Rice i n Bangladesh, 1972-73 . . .  205  Percentage of Output Supplied to the Market by D i f f e r e n t Sizes of Farms in Bangladesh, 1960.  207  Possible C e i l i n g s on Land and Consequences of D i s t r i b u t i n g the ' S u r p l u s ' Land Among the Landless and Small Land Owners (owning 1 acre of l e s s ) i n Bangladesh, 1977  217  31.  Size of Farm and Per Capita Indebtedness in the Comilla Cooperatives, 1969  230  32.  Percentage of the Members of Kotwali Thana KSSs Getting Loans (various y e a r s ) . . . .  230  Selected C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the D i s t r i c t of Bangladesh  268  26.  27.  28.  29.  30.  Al. (Appendix)  xi  LIST OF FIGURES  Figure  Page  1.  Land R e d i s t r i b u t i o n Among Small Farms and Its Effects on the Landless  36  2.  Labour-intensive and C a p i t a l - I n t e n s i v e Technologies.  41  3.  Tenant C u l t i v a t i o n , Cost-Sharing and Productive E f f i c i e n c y  146  4.  Marginal Value Product i n Tenant C u l t i v a t i o n and the Landlord's P a r t i c i p a t i o n i n an Ideal Lease  157  5.  M i c r o - S t a t i c E f f i c i e n c y of Small Farms. . . . 195  xii  LIST OF MAPS/CHARTS  Map  Page  1.  Bangladesh:  2.  S o i l Composition of Bangladesh. .  115  3.  Dry and Wet Regions of Bangladesh  117  4.  Rice Crop Regions of Bangladesh  120  5.  Regions of Some Important Crops Other than Rice in Bangladesh  124  6.  A d m i n i s t r a t i v e Boundaries  114  Incidence of Sharecropping C u l t i v a t i o n in the D i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh. . .  131  7.  S o i l Composition of Rajshahi.  166  8.  S o i l Composition of Bogra .  166  Chart 1.  Degrees of Sharecropping C u l t i v a t i o n i n the D i f f e r e n t D i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh, 1960 . . 132  2.  M u l t i p l e Scalogram Analysis f o r the Regionalization of Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e . . . 134  xi i i  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  I f e e l deeply indebted to my Research Supervisor, Dr. Geoffrey B. Hainsworth of the Department of Economics, f o r the valuable guidance he has provided me throughout the research.  The u n f a i l i n g  encouragement and the constructive c r i t i c i s m s I received from him were enormously helpful in bringing the present work to i t s conclusion. I am t h a n k f u l to Dr. Barrie M. Morrison f o r his keen i n t e r e s t in my work and his many advices on a number of issues of the t h e s i s .  I feel  f u r t h e r obligated to him f o r l e t t i n g me borrow some important research material on Bangladesh.  The numerous discussions  I had with Dr. John  R. Wood, Dr. Richard R. B a r i c h e l l o and Dr. Robert S. Anderson proved highly b e n e f i c i a l to me.  I would l i k e to take t h i s opportunity to  thank them a l l . I am pleased to express my gratitude to the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Committee f o r financing my programme.  I  must thank the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia as well f o r o f f e r i n g me a Graduate Fellowship.  Thanks are also due to Hyacinth Wettasinghe  f o r typing the contents of t h i s t h e s i s . As always, my parents were eager to help me in every possible way. They painstakingly c o l l e c t e d whatever research material I needed from  xiv Bangladesh and sent them to me without loss of time.  I feel  extremely g r a t e f u l to them f o r t h e i r ever helpful a t t i t u d e toward me. This work would not have been possible without the constant support I received from my w i f e , Shahana.  She has shared every  stress and s t r a i n of my academic pursuits which resulted in t h i s thesis.  By singlehandedly managing the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of looking  a f t e r our newborn son, Rishad, she allowed me ample time to devote to my research.  I thank her most s i n c e r e l y f o r a l l t h i s .  1  I.  INTRODUCTION  Bangladesh i s p r i m a r i l y an a g r i c u l t u r a l country.  More than  90% of i t s population l i v e in r u r a l areas, and 77% of i t s labour force is engaged in a g r i c u l t u r e .  The c o n t r i b u t i o n of a g r i c u l t u r e  to the gross domestic product (GDP) in Bangladesh varies from 55% to 58% from year t o year (depending upon the t o t a l a g r i c u l t u r a l output r e l a t i v e to the output of the n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l s e c t o r ) . Khan has pointed out that more than two-thirds of the GDP would be accounted f o r by the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector i f one considers such a n c i l l a r y a c t i v i t i e s as transporting and marketing a g r i c u l t u r a l products.  This concentration on a g r i c u l t u r e can be p a r t l y  explained by the l i m i t e d resource base of /the country.  Bangladesh  has to depend e n t i r e l y on imports f o r such mineral resources as c o a l , oil  and iron ore.  There i s only a meagre supply of limestone from  around the d i s t r i c t of Sylhet, so that much of the cement needed f o r construction jobs has to be imported as w e l l .  See Government of Bangladesh, The F i r s t Five  Dacca:  Planning Commission, 1973, p. 83.  A.R. Khan, The Economy of Bangladesh, Press, 1972, p. 38.  The l i m i t e d resource  Year Plan  1973-78,  London, The Macmillan  2 base that has resulted in such dependence on a g r i c u l t u r e prompted the  f o l l o w i n g conclusion to a recent analysis of the country's  economic prospects: " . . . c e r t a i n l y the short-term, and probably also the longer-term, future of Bangladesh seems almost i n e v i t a b l y to be that of a p r i m a r i l y a g r i c u l t u r a l country."3 Despite i t s concentration on a g r i c u l t u r e , however, p r o d u c t i v i t y in t h i s sector has remained very low.  The main a g r i c u l t u r a l produce  of the country i s paddy, about 80% of the t o t a l cropped acreage 4 being devoted to t h i s crop.  In terms of paddy y i e l d per unit of  land, Bangladesh compares poorly with most other paddy-producing countries of A s i a .  Y i e l d of j u t e , which i s the second most  important crop in the country (covering about 8% of a l l cropped acreage), has also been very low i n s p i t e of favourable land and water c o n d i t i o n s . ^  A. Robinson, Economic Prospects of Bangladesh, Development I n s t i t u t e , 1973, p. 15. See N. Ahmed, A New Economic  Geography  London: Overseas  of Bangladesh,  New  D e l h i : Vikas Publishing House, 1976, p. 63.  Bangladesh produced 1890 kg of paddy per hectare during 1978. The corresponding f i g u r e s f o r Burma, China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand were 2019, 3534, 1975, 6250, 2524 and 2051 kg per hectare r e s p e c t i v e l y . See Food and A g r i c u l t u r e Organization,. FAO Production Year Book, 1978, Rome, 1979, pp. 98-99. Per hectare j u t e y i e l d in Bangladesh was 1478 kg during 1978, whereas China produced 3039 kg per hectare during the same period (see ibid., p. 193). This shows that there i s a l o t of room f o r improving j u t e c u l t i v a t i o n in Bangladesh.  3 The low y i e l d , coupled with a high density of population (1,523 persons per square m i l e ) , resulted i n a meagre per c a p i t a income f o r the c i t i z e n s of Bangladesh (Tk. 1,208 during 1976-77; equivalent to approximately U.S. $ 80).^  It might seem paradoxical  that p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land should be so low i n Bangladesh where the s o i l i s of a high natural f e r t i l i t y t y p i c a l of a d e l t a i c 8 region. Apart from the low p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land and the meagre per c a p i t a income, a severe skew i n the d i s t r i b u t i o n of income i n Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e constitutes another major problem. This i s evident i n a survey conducted i n 1977 which found that about 33% of the r u r a l households owned no c u l t i v a b l e land (some had j u s t a piece of homestead l a n d ) , whereas nearly 20% of a l l a v a i l a b l e land was owned by less than 2% of the households, 9 owning more than 10 acres.  each  These data are reported by Government of Bangladesh, 'Population Change and Economic Development', Bangladesh, Vol. I l l , No. 5, September 1979, pp. 4-5. The high l e v e l of s o i l - f e r t i l i t y i s evidenced, f o r example, by the harvesting of as many as three crops w i t h i n the year from the same piece of land with the a p p l i c a t i o n of l i t t l e or no chemical f e r t i l i z e r . However, continuous cropping under such circumstances may u l t i m a t e l y r e s u l t i n d e c l i n i n g f e r t i l i t y . Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report of the 1977 Land Occupancy Survey of Rural Bangladesh, Dacca: Bangladesh Bureau  of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977, Tables I and I I I .  4 Purpose of the Study  Several a l t e r n a t i v e (and/or cumulative) explanations f o r the poor performance of a g r i c u l t u r e in Bangladesh might be suggested; for example, technological b a r r i e r s , population pressure, set by nature, and i n s t i t u t i o n a l bottlenecks.  Existing  constraints  literature  on the problems of a g r i c u l t u r a l development in underdeveloped countries indicates that s i z e - d i s t r i b u t i o n of farms and tenure arrangements  ( ' s i z e - t e n u r e s t r u c t u r e ' , in short) in a g r i c u l t u r e are  important variables in determining both the l e v e l of p r o d u c t i v i t y and the nature of income d i s t r i b u t i o n . ^ One of the main purposes of the present study i s to i n v e s t i g a t e how f a r and in what ways the p r e v a i l i n g size-tenure structure in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e contributes to the problem of low p r o d u c t i v i t y . It also seeks t o understand the r e l a t i o n s h i p between size-tenure structure and the d i s t r i b u t i o n of income among rural households Bangladesh.  in  On the basis of the f i n d i n g s from t h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n ,  the study then asks whether p a r t i c u l a r a l t e r a t i o n s in the size-tenure s t r u c t u r e , under a land reform programme, can be expected to achieve greater equity and p r o d u c t i v i t y among other possible objectives of reform.  See, f o r example, P. Dorner, 'Land Tenure, Income D i s t r i b u t i o n and P r o d u c t i v i t y I n t e r a c t i o n s ' , Land Economics,, V o l . XL, No. 3, August 1964; and A.K. Sen, ' S i z e of Holdings and P r o d u c t i v i t y ' , Economic Weekly, Annual Number, February 1964.  5 The central theme of the study can be formulated in terms of the f o l l o w i n g hypothesis: The e x i s t i n g size-tenure structure in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e imposes c r i t i c a l constraints upon the attainment of greater p r o d u c t i v i t y and a more equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n of income, and an a l t e r n a t i v e set of arrangements e x i s t s which could a l l e v i a t e these obstacles to r u r a l development and improvement i n l i v i n g standards f o r the majority of the people. Though the main t h r u s t of the study w i l l be an analysis of economic behaviour, the t h e s i s also proposes to look i n t o some of the p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l dimensions of the problem of r u r a l poverty and the prospects f o r land reform.  S i g n i f i c a n c e of the Study  The s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s study derives from the f o l l o w i n g two considerations: ( i ) The study examines a fundamental problem faced by the most important sector of the country and,, hence, has p a r t i c u l a r s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r future development and economic planning i n Bangladesh, ( i i ) The absence of an up-to-date or comprehensive study of the problems of size-tenure structure and the prospects of a land reform in Bangladesh makes the present study a d d i t i o n a l l y useful in t h i s context.  6 Any attempt to analyse the problems of a g r i c u l t u r e must s t a r t with an i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the a v a i l a b l e arable land (the 'primary f a c t o r  1  of production) and the i n d i v i d u a l s  or groups who seek to sustain themselves and create a l i v i n g with what i s produced on that land.  The nature of t h i s basic r e l a t i o n s h i p  w i l l determine whether the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector i s able to play the optimum r o l e i t should.  Such important questions as the v i a b i l i t y of  on-going technological change and the a v a i l a b i l i t y of a marketable surplus w i l l depend to a great extent on the r e l a t i o n s h i p s which are found to e x i s t between farmers and land as r e f l e c t e d in the size-tenure structure.  Evaluation of these r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s of p a r t i c u l a r  s i g n i f i c a n c e to development planners in Bangladesh which, as we have noted, i s p r i m a r i l y an a g r i c u l t u r a l country. To substantiate the second point about the r e l a t i v e dearth of comprehensive studies on size-tenure structure and land reform in Bangladesh, i t i s necessary to provide a b r i e f survey of the e x i s t i n g l i t e r a t u r e on the subject.  Survey of L i t e r a t u r e  This section w i l l f i r s t survey the l i t e r a t u r e on size-tenure problems in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e and then give an account of the studies devoted to land reform and r u r a l development in the country.  7 Studies on farm s i z e , land tenure and agricultural productivity: The s i g n i f i c a n t c o n t r i b u t i o n by A.K. Sen on t h i s t o p i c , proposing that an inverse r e l a t i o n s h i p e x i s t s between farm s i z e and land p r o d u c t i v i t y i n I n d i a , has been duplicated f o r  Bangladesh  1112 in a study conducted by Hossain.  '  He estimates figures f o r  land p r o d u c t i v i t y (defined as output per unit of net c u l t i v a t e d land) f o r d i f f e r e n t s i z e s of farms i n a p a r t i c u l a r l o c a l i t y of Bangladesh.  He f i n d s that p r o d u c t i v i t y of land remains r e l a t i v e l y  uniform up to 5 acres, but then decreases sharply as farm s i z e increases.  The major explanation provided f o r t h i s i s that smaller  farms, with an abundant supply of family labour, are able and w i l l i n g to u t i l i z e r e l a t i v e l y l a r g e r amounts of labour per u n i t of land. This study by Hossain i s e s s e n t i a l l y m i c r o - s t a t i c i n nature. Although the basic approach i s one of f a c t f i n d i n g , he does make a p o l i c y statement i n the concluding paragraph of his paper: "The r e s u l t s , thus, i n d i c a t e that any (emphasis mine) a g r i c u l t u r a l p o l i c y that increases the percentage of land held by the small farms would increase p r o d u c t i v i t y and a g r i c u l t u r a l growth."13  A.K. Sen, 'An Aspect of Indian A g r i c u l t u r e ' , Economic Weekly, Annual Number, February 1962. His basic idea has been elaborated in Chapter IV of the present study, pp. 194-197. 12  M. Hossain, 'Farm Size and P r o d u c t i v i t y i n Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e : A Case Study of Phulpur Farms , Bangladesh 1  Review, V o l .  Economic 1 3  Ibid.  3  p.  493.  II,  No.  1, January  1974.  8 The above statement f a i l s to take i n t o account several long-term i m p l i c a t i o n s of development under a l t e r n a t i v e a g r i c u l t u r a l systems.  Advocacy of an extension of s m a l l - s c a l e  family farming needs to be analysed in greater d e t a i l before such p o l i c y measures can reasonably.be  suggested.  Given that the two prominent modes of production in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e have long been owner c u l t i v a t i o n and c u l t i v a t i o n based on sharecropping tenancy, i n v e s t i g a t i o n s of the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between land tenure and a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i v i t y have been l a r g e l y confined to considering the r e l a t i v e merits and demerits of these two d i f f e r e n t arrangements. Jabbar, f o r example, has undertaken a study of the r e l a t i v e productive e f f i c i e n c y of d i f f e r e n t tenure classes in selected areas 14 of Bangladesh.  He f i n d s that part-operators (defined as those  who c u l t i v a t e some of t h e i r land and rent out the r e s t ) , on average, produce more per unit of land than owner-operators (those who c u l t i v a t e only owned land) or part-tenants (those who c u l t i v a t e owned land as well as some rented land). T r a d i t i o n a l Marshallian arguments regarding lack of incentives among tenants to increase output or to invest i n land improvements are offered by Jabbar as explanations f o r the poorest performance of the part-tenants.  As f o r the b e t t e r y i e l d s obtained by p a r t -  operators than owner-operators, i t i s argued that the explanation l i e s  M.A. Jabbar, An Investigation into the Effect of Farm on Land Productivity in Selected Areas of Bangladesh.  Structure  Unpublished Ph.D. D i s s e r t a t i o n , U n i v e r s i t y of Wales, 1976.  9 in the greater access to inputs enjoyed by the former.  Jabbar  also f i n d s that output per unit of rented land has i n general been less than that per unit of owner-cultivated land. As with the study by Hossain, c i t e d e a r l i e r , Jabbar confines his analysis of d i f f e r e n t tenure arrangements w i t h i n a s t a t i c framework.  But from a development standpoint, i t i s not adequate t o  examine whether one tenure arrangement i s better than the other at a point i n time.  It also needs to be c a r e f u l l y considered which one  of them can best meet s o c i e t y ' s future needs and e x p l o i t i t s f u l l capabilities.  Besides, i f both arrangements are found to be  i n e f f i c i e n t from the point of .view, of u t i l i z a t i o n of s o c i a l  resources,  i t may be necessary to seek a l t e r n a t i v e s beyond the arrangements already p r e v a i l i n g . Not a l l researchers have found r e s u l t s consistent with those obtained by Jabbar.  Zaman, f o r example, found that i n c e r t a i n cases 1  sharecropping tenants have performed as well as the o w n e r - c u l t i v a t o r s . However, he omitted to mention that the reason why a tenant may c u l t i v a t e rented land as i n t e n s i v e l y may be r e l a t e d to considerations a r i s i n g from his subsistence l e v e l of income.  The suggestion made by  Zaman that sharecropping arrangements should be encouraged i n c e r t a i n instances to achieve more intensive c u l t i v a t i o n , may not, t h e r e f o r e , be  ' M.R. Zaman, 'Sharecropping and Economic E f f i c i e n c y i n Bangladesh , Bangladesh 1  A p r i l 1973.  Economic  Review, V o l . I,  No. 2,  1  10  able to achieve the stated goal i f the tenant households are found to operate above subsistence l e v e l s . Another study that makes more q u a l i f i e d statements about the r e l a t i v e e f f i c i e n c y of tenant c u l t i v a t i o n , as compared to owner 1g c u l t i v a t i o n , has also been published.by Hossain.  He argues that  one has to e s t a b l i s h that the farmers being compared in terms of t h e i r production performances have s i m i l a r access to other resources, in order that the i n t r i n s i c advantages or disadvantages of one arrangement over the other can be demonstrated.  Thus, f o r example,  he compares the performance of owner-cum-tenants (defined as those who c u l t i v a t e some owned land and some rented land) on t h e i r owned land with t h e i r performance on rented land.  Since Hossain f i n d s  t h a t the owner-cum-tenants show greater e f f i c i e n c y on owned land than on rented land, he concludes that sharecropping has been i n f e r i o r to owner c u l t i v a t i o n i n the region he has studied.  While his  conclusion may be t r u e , the methodology used f o r coming to i t has c e r t a i n problems.  The o v e r a l l s i z e of the owner-cum-tenant farms  could e v i d e n t l y influence the r e s u l t s .  When the owner-cum-tenants  have T i t t l e land of t h e i r own and can get only a l i t t l e more on sharecropping c o n t r a c t s , they may not be able to a f f o r d half-hearted c u l t i v a t i o n of the rented land and may have to c u l t i v a t e a l l land with high i n t e n s i t y to meet family consumption needs.  Besides, i t  might so happen that an owner-cum-tenant c u l t i v a t e s the rented land  M. Hossain, 'Farm S i z e , Tenancy and Land P r o d u c t i v i t y : An Analysis of Farm Level Data in Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e ' , Bangladesh  Development  Studies,  V o l . V, No. 3, J u l y  1977.  11 less i n t e n s i v e l y than he does his own l a n d , but more i n t e n s i v e l y than i t would be c u l t i v a t e d by other owner-cultivators.  Studies on land reform: E x i s t i n g studies on land reform in Bangladesh deal more with the background to land l e g i s l a t i o n in the country than with an analysis of what might be included in a future land reform programme. Most of these studies have indicated the f a i l u r e s of previous l e g i s l a t i v e attempts at reform.  For example, Mukherji came to the  following conclusion in this, regard: " . . . the provision of land c e i l i n g l e g i s l a t i o n in Bangladesh does not i n d i c a t e any r a d i c a l s h i f t , from the East Bengal State A c q u i s i t i o n and Tenancy, Act of 1950. Whatever boldness was introduced in the program i n i t i a l l y to prevent the circumvention of the land c e i l i n g law has been gradually eroded by subsequent amendments in response to demands from pressure groups."17 A major i m p l i c a t i o n of M u k h e r j i ' s study i s that land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n i n i t s e l f can c o n s t i t u t e a desirable land reform programme f o r Bangladesh.  However, he f a i l s to substantiate t h i s by any t h e o r e t i c a l  or empirical i n v e s t i g a t i o n into the r e l a t i o n s h i p s among size-tenure structure of farms, p r o d u c t i v i t y of land or labour, and d i s t r i b u t i o n of income.  I:N. Mukherji, 'Agrarian Reforms in Asian  Survey,  V o l . XVI,  Bangladesh',  No. 5, May 1976,  p.  463.  12 In another study by A l i m , i t has been concluded that in view of the shortage of land in Bangladesh, hardly anything can be 1g achieved through a programme.of land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n .  He does  not, however, explore any a l t e r n a t i v e means of transforming the size-tenure structure f o r a t t a i n i n g greater equity and increased productive e f f i c i e n c y .  He argues that those with very l i t t l e or  no land at a l l should be engaged in "various trades,  professions  and cottage i n d u s t r i e s " so that they can "earn t h e i r l i v e l i h o o d 1g with d i g n i t y " . l i k e these.  The whole study i s marred by generalizations  Besides, lack of o b j e c t i v i t y and a s t a t i c nature of  argumentation are severe l i m i t a t i o n s to A l i m ' s work. Abdullah has undertaken a.study of land reform in  Bangladesh  20  which i s quite valuable as f a r as h i s t o r i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n i s concerned. Like most other researchers in t h i s area, he does not t a c k l e the problem from the point of view of p o l i c y formulation.  However, at the end of  his study, he does o f f e r an opinion about the v i a b i l i t y of land 18 A. A l i m , Land Reforms in Bangladesh: Social A g r i c u l t u r a l Development and Eradication of  Dacca:  1 9  Ibid.,  Samina ( p u b l i s h e r ) ,  1979.  Changes, Poverty,  pp. 137-138.  20 A. Abdullah, 'Land Reform and Agrarian Change in Bangladesh  Development  Studies,  Vol.  IV,  No.  Bangladesh',  1, January  1976.  13 r e d i s t r i b u t i o n as a tool f o r a t t a i n i n g equity and growth, "A regime of small peasant proprietors w i l l be less propitious f o r accumulation and growth, less o r g a n i c a l l y integrated with the market than even the e x i s t i n g p e t t y commodity producing semi-feudal structure ... It i s f o o l i s h to expect, f o r example, that small farmers w i l l continue to grow as much cash crops as they now do when there are no longer any large farmers disposing of large surpluses of rice."21 :  In Abdullah's opinion, cooperative measures patterned a f t e r the Comilla experience would be better able to f o s t e r growth and "weaken the l a s t vestiges of semi-feudalism" i n Bangladesh 22 agriculture.  However, he admits that these measures w i l l not be  l i k e l y to mitigate i n e q u a l i t i e s , which means that one of the major objectives of land reform w i l l remain unrealized. Khan has undertaken a study of land reform f o r Bangladesh which includes some empirical i n v e s t i g a t i o n into the problems of size-tenure 23 structure. He bases most of his analysis on data coming from the A g r i c u l t u r a l Census of 1960, and some on the data from the Master 24 Survey of A g r i c u l t u r e of 1968. In the context of the r e a l i t i e s of  Ibid.,  p.  96.  Ibid., p. 96. Also see i n t h i s regard A. Abdullah, M. Hossain and R. Nations, 'Agrarian Structure and the IRDP: Preliminary Considerations ' , . Bangladesh  April  1976.  Khan, op.oit.,  Development  Studies,  Vol.  IV,  No.  2,  Ch. 11, pp. 128-150.  Government of P a k i s t a n , Pakistan  Census of A g r i c u l t u r e , 1960,  Government of Bangladesh, Master  Survey  V o l . I, F i n a l Report - East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962; and of Agriculture  Seventh Round, Second Phase (1967-68), Dacca: of S t a t i s t i c s , (undated).  in  Bangladesh  Bangladesh,  Bureau  14 more recent times, one would have to r e v i s e many of Khan's contentions.  Some of the relevant variables have undergone  s i g n i f i c a n t changes over the years.  For example, whereas in  1960 the tenant-operated area was 18% of a l l c u l t i v a t e d land, and landless households formed about 7% of a l l a g r i c u l t u r a l households, the corresponding figures were reported in the 1977 25 Land Occupancy Survey to be about 23% and 33% r e s p e c t i v e l y . Khan points out that the reform of 1950, which abolished zamindari,  l e f t many farmers who had enough land to s t i l l be able  to behave l i k e r u r a l gentry.  He also maintains that t h e i r  r e l a t i v e l y large farms have been less e f f i c i e n t i n the use of land and other resources and "have not shown any s i g n i f i c a n t tendency to modernize". It has been suggested by Khan that by putting a c e i l i n g on the land ownership of a family at 7.5 acres, and r e d i s t r i b u t i n g the 'surplus'  land among the small owners and, i f p o s s i b l e , the l a n d l e s s ,  one could achieve both appreciably greater equity and increased productivity.  However, as we s h a l l see in Chapter V of the present  study, under'the e x i s t i n g circumstances even with c e i l i n g s much lower than t h i s , not much can be achieved by t h i s means to increase the welfare of the peasantry at large.  Government of Bangladesh,..Summary Report of the 1977 Land Oocupanoy Survey of Rural Bangladesh, Dacca: Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977. Khan, op.oit.,  p. 134.  15  It would be f a i r to i n t e r p r e t Khan's comment on the poor performance of the r e l a t i v e l y large farms to mean that the e x i s t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n a l framework has not been conducive t o improving the e f f i c i e n c y of l a r g e r farms.  It would be  inappropriate, however, to conclude from such a premise (and Khan does not do so) that large farms per se must i n e v i t a b l y be detrimental f o r Bangladesh under a l l circumstances.  Khan does  not consider p o s s i b i l i t i e s of solving some of the problems of Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e by creating larger units under a d i f f e r e n t set of circumstances ( f o r example, under group ownership arrangements). A more recent study addressing i t s e l f to the question of future 27 land reform in Bangladesh has been published by Zaman.  He suggests  that a c e i l i n g of 8 acres per family be put on landholding.  The  reason he does not advocate a lower c e i l i n g (for example, 5 acres) that "such a unit might not be v i a b l e given the requirements of a minimum income, f u l l family employment, and optimum u t i l i z a t i o n of 28 farm implements, including b u l l o c k s " .  Although the c e i l i n g he  suggests can hardly be expected to have much impact in the present circumstances of Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , i n making t h i s statement, he exposes some of the macro-deficiencies of small scale family farming in Bangladesh. M.A. Zaman, 'Bangladesh: South Asian Ibid.,  p.  The Case f o r Further Land Reform',  Review, V o l . 8, No. 2, January 99.  1975.  is  16 With regard to cooperation i n Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , most studies dwell upon the r e l a t i v e merits and demerits of Comilla type cooperatives.  Malek has made one such study, i n which he  f i n d s that the i n i t i a l broad enthusiasm f o r the Comilla movement 29 has apparently died down.  He observes that the landless and the  land-poor farmers have no i n c e n t i v e to j o i n the cooperatives because they are well aware that benefits a v a i l a b l e accrue d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y with the s i z e of landholding, although o b l i g a t i o n s to the cooperatives more often remain s i m i l a r f o r a l l sizes of member farms. Malek's study f a i l s to make the point that the anomalies found in the Comilla cooperative movement germinated from the very conceptualization of the programme.  It was thought that a s p i r i t of  community development could be created through persuasion, and organizational guidance.  assistance,  The mistake was to disregard the f a c t  that no such thing as a ' v i l l a g e community' was l i k e l y to emerge when 1  the i n t e r e s t s of d i f f e r e n t s i z e and tenure-categories of farms were so widely divergent. That the problems of the Comilla model are bound t o reappear i n other programmes patterned a f t e r i t . ( f o r example, the Integrated Rural 30 Development Programme) has been demonstrated by Khan. He  Q'.M.A. Malek, 'Rice C u l t i v a t i o n i n Comilla Kotwali Thana: The Role of C o o p e r a t i v e s ' , Bangladesh  No. 3, J u l y 1976.  Development  Studies,  A.R. Khan, "The Comilla Model and the Rural Development Programme of Bangladesh: An Experiment i n Cooperative Capital ism' , World Development,  April/May 1979.  V o l . 7, No. 4/5,  Vol.  IV,  17 concludes, "The consequence of i n t e n s i f y i n g the implementation of the IRDP programme i n a s i t u a t i o n of such i n i t i a l i n e q u a l i t y w i l l be t o perpetuate, more l i k e l y to aggravate, such i n e q u a l i t y . " 3 1 Although some authors have recognized the need to introduce group farming, which would be based on j o i n t r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i n ownership, organization and management, no one has so f a r provided a comprehensive examination of the issue.  S i d d i q u i , f o r example,  has expressed strong reservations against t r e a t i n g r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land as a s t a t i c p o l i c y measure.  32  He maintains,  "In the long run, an e g a l i t a r i a n landholding structure provides the real basis f o r a g r i c u l t u r a l cooperation and c o l l e c t i v i s a t i o n which, i n t u r n , f a c i l i t a t e s economies of s c a l e , the l a r g e - s c a l e introduction of modern technology, increased production and a l a r g e r a g r i c u l t u r a l surplus."33 Siddiqui has, however, stopped short of s p e l l i n g out the d e t a i l s of how the proposed t r a n s i t i o n i s to be brought about. Several points stand out from the above survey of e x i s t i n g l i t e r a t u r e on size-tenure s t r u c t u r e and land reform in Bangladesh: 1.  Most previous studies deal only with s t a t i c efficiencies.  The long-term consequences of  a l t e r n a t i v e p o l i c y measures hardly receive any  Ibid.,  p. 417.  K. S i d d i q u i , 'Comment on Jannuzi and Peach: "A Note on Land Reform -in 'Bangladesh".  No. 3, A p r i l 1979. Ibid.,  p. 320.  1  Journal  of Peasant  Studies,  V o l . 6,  18 attention.  This has been the r e s u l t of confining  the discussion to t r a d i t i o n a l debates only. 2.  The comparison of l e v e l s of performance of d i f f e r e n t categories of farms i s undertaken mainly at the micro l e v e l .  Most researchers have f a i l e d to look  i n t o the p o s s i b i l i t y of a c o n t r a d i c t i o n e x i s t i n g between m i c r o - l e v e l e f f i c i e n c y in the given i n s t i t u t i o n a l framework and the achievement of broader macro-efficiency. 3.  Although some authors have argued that cost-sharing would make sharecropping an e f f i c i e n t arrangement, no one has sought to explain why cost-sharing has not been a more common arrangement between landlords and sharecropping tenants i n Bangladesh.  4.  A l l studies which have made p o l i c y suggestions r e l a t i n g to land reform have been mainly preoccupied with a comparison of e f f i c i e n c y between sharecropping tenants and owner-cultivators.  Following Herring, i t can be  argued that t h i s may not be the best way of approaching the problem, "We are comparing tenancy systems to owner-cultivator systems; that one i s marginally superior to the other in p r o d u c t i v i t y does not s e t t l e important p o l i c y questions because both systems f a l l p a t h e t i c a l l y short of the potential in terms of labour p r o d u c t i v i t y and land p r o d u c t i v i t y . " 3 4  R.3. Herring, 'Share Tenancy and Economic E f f i c i e n c y : The South Asian Case'. Peasant Studies, V o l . 7, No. 4, F a l l 1978, p. 244.  19  5.  Land reform, in most instances, has been treated as synonymous with land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n .  The  prospects of other models in a t t a i n i n g the objectives of a land reform programme have not been adequately i n v e s t i g a t e d . 6.  Most previous studies of land reform have been based on data which are almost two decades o l d . Conclusions drawn from these studies require re-examination in the context of more recent information on the Bangladesh s i t u a t i o n .  7.  None of the studies have considered regional v a r i a t i o n s in discussing the problems of size-tenure structure.  The above l i t e r a t u r e review thus indicates that a researcher concerned with the problems of size-tenure structure and prospects of a land reform programme in Bangladesh has an opportunity to cover new and important ground.  The present study hopes to f i l l  some of the  void that has been shown to e x i s t in the a v a i l a b l e l i t e r a t u r e .  20  • II.  CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND PLAN OF STUDY  Conceptual Framework  The relevance of size-tenure s t r u c t u r e : In seeking to diagnose the prospects f o r a g r i c u l t u r a l development in any underdeveloped country, i t i s worthwhile to s t a r t by examining the p r e v a i l i n g ' a g r i c u l t u r a l systems' w i t h i n the  country which determine the s p e c i f i c context of 'the p r o b l e m ' J  Following Morrison, one can i d e n t i f y four d i f f e r e n t c l u s t e r s of elements which can a f f e c t the c u l t i v a t o r s ' production behaviour as 2 well as the nature of d i s t r i b u t i o n of output and income among them. The natural c u l t i v a t i n g environment constitutes the f i r s t of these c l u s t e r s . the  Included herein are the s o i l composition of an area,  timing and the quantity of r a i n f a l l during a year, drainage  f a c i l i t i e s , access to i r r i g a t i o n water, and exposure to sun and wind. The second c l u s t e r represents the resources owned or under the control of the c u l t i v a t o r ; the important resources being l a n d , labour, and c a p i t a l stocks l i k e farm implements and draught animals.  Not only the  quantity of land held by a c u l t i v a t o r , but also i t s q u a l i t y i n terms  For an elaboration of the concept of an a g r i c u l t u r a l system see B.M. Morrison, 'The Persistent Rural C r i s i s i n A s i a : A S h i f t in Conception', Pacific Affairs, V o l . 52, No. 4, Winter 1979-80. 2  Ibid.,  pp. 633-637.  21 of the range of crops which can be produced on i t , the degree of fragmentation of the land he holds, and the proximity of the farmland to his r e s i d e n t i a l unit are some of the other considerations which characterize the resource p o s i t i o n of a c u l t i v a t o r in terms of land.  The labour resource would include family labour as well as  labour which would be made a v a i l a b l e from the wage-labour market or through arrangements of labour exchange with other households.  Again,  the labour resource p o s i t i o n of a household would be determined by both the quantity of labour at i t s disposal as well as the q u a l i t y of that labour.  The t h i r d c l u s t e r of elements covers the s o c i e t a l  expectations which define the r e l a t i o n s h i p between an i n d i v i d u a l household's e f f o r t s toward acquiring the n e c e s s i t i e s of l i f e and enhancing i t s resources, on the one hand, and the demands made on i t by the "kindred and f e l l o w - c l a s s households" and the society at l a r g e , 3  on the other.  The fourth c l u s t e r i s composed of the linkages of the  agrarian s o c i e t y to outside agents and organizations.  These linkages  are established through the market r e l a t i o n s of that society with the ' o u t s i d e ' world and through the actions of government and non-government agencies (national and foreign) with regard to the b u i l d i n g of i n f r a s t r u c t u r e , provision of extension services and implementation of various reform measures.  3  Ibid.,  p.  635.  22  The performance of the a g r i c u l t u r a l s e c t o r , both in terms of e f f i c i e n c y in production and equity in d i s t r i b u t i o n of income, of a p a r t i c u l a r country or a region can be altered to the extent that the four components of an a g r i c u l t u r a l system discussed above are amenable to change.  The f i r s t one points to the environmental  determinism of the system.  The s o i l composition, r a i n f a l l , surface  topography and water table influence the methods of c u l t i v a t i o n as well as the cropping pattern w i t h i n a region.  It i s true that a  c u l t i v a t o r can attempt to make arrangements to create better drainage and i r r i g a t i o n f a c i l i t i e s w i t h i n the given set of water t a b l e conditions.  rainfal1-topography-  However, these arrangements do not n u l l i f y  the e n v i r o n m e n t - s p e c i f i c i t y of his operations. The second c l u s t e r of elements, which includes the c u l t i v a t o r ' s resources, would be more amenable to change. farmland among the r u r a l households intervention.  The d i s t r i b u t i o n of  can change with or without outside  Such f a c t o r s as population growth, h e r i t a b i l i t y r i g h t s ,  terms and conditions under which land mortgages are found to operate, and the a t t i t u d e of d i f f e r e n t groups toward a g r i c u l t u r a l occupations as opposed to other occupations can be thought of as endogenous v a r i a b l e s a f f e c t i n g the resource p o s i t i o n of a c u l t i v a t o r in regard to the farmland he operates.  His p o s i t i o n can also be affected by  l e g i s l a t i o n introduced by the government.  The q u a l i t a t i v e content of  his land, as characterized by the range of possible crops and the fragmentation of his holding, can be a l t e r e d by the i n t r o d u c t i o n of  23 newer crops through adaptive research work and by the adoption of voluntary or state-sponsored consolidation programmes.  The labour  resources of a c u l t i v a t i n g household are best appreciated in r e l a t i o n to i t s command over land resources.  The p o s s i b i l i t y of  a l t e r a t i o n s in the land resources a v a i l a b l e to the household obviously r a i s e s the prospect of a l t e r e d f a c t o r proportions in production arrangements.  The t i l t i n g of the balance of land  resources can r e s u l t in a change in the o r i g i n a l labour resources of the households.  For example, fewer labour units may be a v a i l a b l e  in the wage-labour market in cases where the households which were previously supplying these units have acquired so much land as to withdraw some of t h i s labour to be used f o r c u l t i v a t i o n of t h e i r own farmland. Part of the t h i r d c l u s t e r of elements, representing s o c i e t a l expectations, can be thought of as a force of c u l t u r a l determinism i n the production and d i s t r i b u t i o n behaviour of the c u l t i v a t o r s in the short run.  Kinship t i e s and interdependence among various groups  cannot change overnight.  However, s o c i e t a l expectations and the  i n d i v i d u a l ' s reaction to these expectations are bound to change with changes brought about in the resource p o s i t i o n of the household. A f t e r a l l , these s o c i e t a l expectations are the r e f l e c t i o n s of the i n d i v i d u a l s ' perception of those s e c u r i t i e s which they f e e l they must have to guard against p o t e n t i a l imbalances in t h e i r resource p o s i t i o n s and, hence, t h e i r capacity to enhance family i n t e r e s t s .  24 The fourth c l u s t e r , which includes the linkages of the agrarian society to the outside world, both national and i n t e r n a t i o n a l , i s of extreme importance i n i n f l u e n c i n g the p r o d u c t i o n - d i s t r i b u t i o n o r i e n t a t i o n of the s o c i e t y .  The nature of these external linkages  are determined by a v a r i e t y of f a c t o r s which are l a r g e l y outside of the i n d i v i d u a l peasant's autonomy.  The market r e l a t i o n s , which shape  many of these linkages, would be.dependent upon the p o l i c y of the State with regard to e x t r a c t i o n of a marketable surplus and i t s use. L e g i s l a t i v e actions of the government are l i k e l y to be designed in accordance with such p o l i c i e s . For example, i f the government f e e l s that the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of e x i s t i n g large farms w i t h i n the country would run counter i t i t s p o l i c y with regard to increased marketing of the products, as opposed to self-consumption by the c u l t i v a t o r s , i t would be hesitant to l e g i s l a t e low land c e i l i n g s .  The degree of h e s i t a t i o n would vary  with the c a l c u l a t i o n of p o l i t i c a l costs and b e n e f i t s .  The p o l i t i c a l  cost of not implementing low land c e i l i n g s may l i e in the a l i e n a t i o n of the small land owners and landless households who could have benefited by subsequent r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land.  On the other hand, supporting the  r e l a t i v e l y large farmers by various means w i l l understandably ensure their p o l i t i c a l allegiance.  The government may also f i n d newer  p o l i t i c a l a l l i e s in the growing urban areas i f i t can keep the urban dwellers happy with an adequate supply of food items at cheap p r i c e s . Again, the p o l i t i c a l c o s t - b e n e f i t analysis w i l l become relevant to the government as c o n f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t s become acute between those  25 (both f o r consumption and manufacturing) and r u r a l suppliers of these products.  If p o l i t i c a l gain i s perceived to be higher in making  a l l i a n c e s with the former group, l e g i s l a t i o n might be forthcoming to a l t e r the balance of resource ownership and control among d i f f e r e n t r u r a l groups.  In t h i s way, the resource positions of d i f f e r e n t groups  can both influence and be influenced by linkages established by the government.  Non-government organizations can also r a l l y various  i n t e r e s t groups to press f o r a l t e r a t i o n s in r e l a t i v e and absolute resource s i t u a t i o n s . The above discussion underscores the importance of the resource p o s i t i o n of c u l t i v a t o r s in determining the a g r i c u l t u r a l system w i t h i n which they operate.  Many f a c t o r s can a f f e c t p r o d u c t i v i t y and income  d i s t r i b u t i o n which may be independent of size-tenure s t r u c t u r e .  However,  land i s the primary f a c t o r of production and a t t a i n s p a r t i c u l a r importance i n the whole resource package a v a i l a b l e to the c u l t i v a t o r s e s p e c i a l l y in resource-poor densely populated countries.  This i s so  because (1) land occupies a unique status as a resource c r i t i c a l to basic subsistence and productive a c t i v i t i e s , and (2) ownership and u t i l i z a t i o n of other resources l i k e seeds, f e r t i l i z e r s and draught animals i s often e i t h e r i n t e r n a l t o or dependent upon the ownership of land.  It follows  from this, that a g r i c u l t u r a l systems in.an underdeveloped country would be g r e a t l y influenced by the land tenure system, which can be taken to include the customs and organizational arrangements by which land i s owned and c u l t i v a t e d by the members of an agrarian s o c i e t y .  26 The concept of land tenure, comprising both the status of land ownership enjoyed by the c u l t i v a t o r s and the organizational arrangement w i t h i n which land i s c u l t i v a t e d , provides a basis f o r examining the decisions of the c u l t i v a t o r s with regard to such important variables in the development matrix as the i n t e n s i t y of input-use, cropping p a t t e r n , choice of technology, l e v e l of employment and the generation and use of marketable surpluses.  As  a simple example of a contrasting a g r i c u l t u r a l system, one could look at the land tenure arrangement i n a p l a n t a t i o n economy and examine i t s r a m i f i c a t i o n s upon various economic, s o c i a l or p o l i t i c a l outcomes. Ownership of land in a t y p i c a l p l a n t a t i o n i s in the hands of 4 corporations of which there may be a large number of shareholders. These corporations are mostly foreign-based and the majority of t h e i r shareholders are resident abroad.  The plantations are wage  labour-based, export-oriented e n t e r p r i s e s .  The export o r i e n t a t i o n  often necessitates large investments in processing of the products and i n t r a n s p o r t a t i o n .  To minimize the i d l e capacity of the whole  c a p i t a l o u t l a y , crops which can be harvested c o n t i n u a l l y are favoured. The i n t e n s i t y of input-use i s high in the plantations due to s t r i c t control over the use of various inputs w i t h i n a framework of p r o f i t motive.  Although most plantations are established in sparsely  For an elaboration of the p l a n t a t i o n economy see P.P. Courtenay, Plantation Agriculture, London: C. B e l l and Sons L t d . , 1965.  27  populated l o c a l i t i e s (these l o c a l i t i e s w i l l lend themselves to the l a r g e - s c a l e farming t y p i c a l of the plantations without creating major social and p o l i t i c a l imbalances) cheap labour i s made a v a i l a b l e by encouraging immigration from more populous parts w i t h i n or outside of the country.  The labour-intensive technology of the plantations 5  i s often a r e s u l t of the nature of crop involved as w e l l .  The  r e l i a n c e on labour-intensive technology does not, however, mean n o n - r e s t r i c t i v e labour employment since the p r o f i t maximization motive would i d e a l l y require that;employment be l i m i t e d at the point where marginal product of labour equals i t s wage.  The owners of  plantations are often able to exercise some degree of monopsony power over the l e v e l s of remuneration paid to workers since the host countries are mostly unable to o f f e r these workers a d i v e r s i f i e d set of income-earning o p p o r t u n i t i e s .  To combat the leverage exercised  by the owners i n s e t t i n g wages, the workers would be tempted to unionize and s t a r t a process of c o l l e c t i v e bargaining.  If the  government cannot or w i l l not resort to coercion f o r suppressing such developments  then the plantations can soon become non-viable as high-  p r o f i t enterprises due to r i s i n g labour costs and the increased u n c e r t a i n t i e s in business operations.  For example, rubber tapping i s done most e f f i c i e n t l y by an expert hand with' nothing more than a k n i f e , plucking of q u a l i t y tea leaves i s best done by bare hands, and the harvesting of banana crops requires a kind of s e l e c t i v e judgement which can be provided best by human labour.  28 The b r i e f discussion of the p l a n t a t i o n economy c a r r i e d out above shows how the ownership pattern of land and the organization of i t s production a f f e c t such f a c t o r s as the cropping p a t t e r n , choice of technology, i n t e n s i t y of input-use, nature of market s t r u c t u r e , d i s t r i b u t i o n of income, and the long-term v i a b i l i t y of the arrangement as a whole.  The land tenure system under other arrangements  (like  sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n , small-scale owner c u l t i v a t i o n , state farming, or group farming with j o i n t ownership and management) can also be expected to a f f e c t , admittedly i n varying fashions and degrees, a l l of these f a c t o r s .  In other words, whatever the arrangement, the  land tenure system plays a central r o l e in shaping production and d i s t r i b u t i o n behaviour.  The question of farm s i z e , which i s i n t i m a t e l y  r e l a t e d to the land tenure system, i s also of great importance in determining the nature of such c r u c i a l v a r i a b l e s i n the development matrix as the d i s t r i b u t i o n of income, technology in use, l e v e l of employment and the e x t r a c t i b i 1 i.ty of surpluses from the market.  In  short, the size-tenure structure would g r e a t l y influence the nature of the various c l u s t e r s of elements which have been i d e n t i f i e d as determining the a g r i c u l t u r a l system. In t r y i n g to i d e n t i f y the problems of a g r i c u l t u r a l development w i t h i n a region, i t i s important to understand the process  through  which the e x i s t i n g s i t u a t i o n has emerged, e s p e c i a l l y with regard to i t s size-tenure s t r u c t u r e .  This can help one d i s t i n g u i s h between the  forces which tend to perpetuate the p r e v a i l i n g socio-economic system,  29  and those which push f o r change.  The success of any programme of  a g r i c u l t u r a l development in an area which s u f f e r s from numerous problems r e l a t e d to i t s size-tenure s t r u c t u r e w i l l depend upon the a b i l i t y to properly i d e n t i f y and mobilize appropriate forces of change.  Finding a v i a b l e structure which seeks to better s a t i s f y  basic equity and e f f i c i e n c y c r i t e r i a i s what constitutes the essence of a programme of land reform. The f o l l o w i n g section: w i l l examine some of the s p e c i f i c objectives which may be set f o r such reform programmes and which govern the s e l e c t i o n of a s u i t a b l e d e f i n i t i o n f o r the term 'land reform'.  Various models of land reform w i l l then be considered,  which w i l l be followed by a discussion of the p o l i t i c a l f a c t o r s which may a f f e c t the i n i t i a t i o n and implementation of a reform.  Objectives of land reform: Depending upon the p r e v a i l i n g size-tenure s t r u c t u r e , one or more of the f o l l o w i n g may c o n s t i t u t e the set of basic development-related objectives of a land reform programme: ( i ) d i s t r i b u t i n g income more e q u i t a b l y , ( i i ) r a i s i n g the l e v e l of production, ( i i i ) generating more employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s , ( i v ) increasing the marketable surplus. These objectives have to be discussed in some d e t a i l before one can come to terms with the d e f i n i t i o n a l n i c e t i e s of the concept of  30 land reform since the various forms which a ' l a n d reform  1  can take  w i l l obviously be affected by the objectives being set f o r i t .  (i)  D i s t r i b u t i n g income more equitably. A l t e r n a t i v e s to land reform?  Raising the l e v e l s of income of  small farmers and the landless c o n s t i t u t e s a major o b j e c t i v e of many land reform programmes.  Measures other than land reform have often  proven unsuccessful i n e f f e c t i v e l y r e d i s t r i b u t i n g income among the a g r i c u l t u r a l population.  A b r i e f review of the problems and  prospects of these other measures w i l l enable one to appreciate the importance of incorporating the o b j e c t i v e of a more equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n of income w i t h i n a programme.of land reform.^ ' A l t e r n a t i v e s ' to land reform in r e d i s t r i b u t i n g income may include (a) tenancy reform, (b) small-farmer a i d , and (c) progressive land taxation.  (a) Tenancy reform:  Tenancy reforms are p r i m a r i l y concerned with  c o n t r o l l i n g rents and e s t a b l i s h i n g s e c u r i t y of tenure f o r the tenants. The basic shortcoming of a l l tenancy reforms i s that these are not d i r e c t l y concerned with the problems of landlessness.  But l e t us  examine b r i e f l y the r o l e that tenancy reform can play in bettering the l o t of those f o r whom i t i s designed, that i s , the tenants.  For a d e t a i l e d analysis of these a l t e r n a t i v e s see M. L i p t o n , 'Towards a Theory of Land Reform', in D. Lehmann (ed.), Agrarian Reform and Agrarian  India,  Reformism:  Studies  of Peru,  Chile,  London: Faber and Faber, 1974, pp. 274-281.  China  Most tenancy reforms are involved in t a c k l i n g the problems of sharecropping tenancy.  and  31 The tenants are dependent on t h e i r respective landlords not only in gaining access to land, but also in a v a r i e t y of other ways. The landlords may help the tenants in providing personal p r o t e c t i o n , extending loans, making contacts with government o f f i c i a l s , f i n d i n g marketing channels, arranging part-time employment, and the l i k e . The tenants often r e a l i z e that the State may not provide them with a l l of these services i f tenancy reform causes the landlords to terminate such patronage.  This i s why they may not i n s i s t on  t h e i r r i g h t s even i f laws are made on one or more of the p o l i c y measures of tenancy reform.  And, without the cooperation of the  tenants, none of these measures can achieve any great degree of success. The strength of the landlord l i e s in his stock of the scarce resource that land represents.  Tenancy l e g i s l a t i o n cannot do much  to c u r t a i l such strength and to e l i m i n a t e the socio-economic obstacles imposed by the nature of r u r a l power s t r u c t u r e .  Tenancy  reforms shy away from the fundamental issue in agrarian reform and, t h e r e f o r e , the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of income that can be e f f e c t e d through such measures i s usually l i t t l e .  In the words of L i p t o n ,  "In general, tenancy reform in the ' s o f t s t a t e s " of the Third World breaks upon the rock of landlord power, and the e f f e c t s of evasion can include i n s e c u r i t y that worsens both r u r a l income d i s t r i b u t i o n and the standards of c a p i t a l and „ land a c q u i s i t i o n and maintenance on tenant farms."  L i p t o n , op.oit.,  p. 277.  32 (b)  Small-farmer a i d :  The programme of small-farmer a i d  rests on the b e l i e f that by o f f e r i n g c a p i t a l assistance to small farmers one can solve not only the problem of d i s p a r i t y among the r i c h and poor a g r i c u l t u r a l households, but also boost a g r i c u l t u r a l production.  The t r a d i t i o n a l argument regarding the e f f i c i e n c y of  small farms i s resorted to in suggesting that these w i l l  perform  even better with more c a p i t a l . Whether the government exchequer can bear the burden of an extensive programme of small-farmer aid i s a fundamental question in t h i s regard.  Besides, such aid again does not d i r e c t l y deal  with landlessness.  The p o s i t i o n of the landless can in f a c t worsen  i f the t r a n s f e r of c a p i t a l i s made from those land owners who hired most of the r u r a l wage-labour i n s o f a r as the demand f o r wage-labour i s reduced by the move.  Moreover, small-farmer aid does not aim at  solving the problems of tenant c u l t i v a t i o n . In an agrarian structure dominated by r e l a t i v e l y large farmers, c r e d i t intended f o r small farmers i s l i k e l y to f i n d i t s way to the p r i v i l e g e d few who have the p o l i t i c a l strength to influence the 9  d i r e c t i o n of a i d d i s t r i b u t i o n by l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s .  And once the  c r e d i t ends up in the 'wrong' hands, i t may not be used f o r a g r i c u l t u r a l purposes, or i t may be cycled by them to the small farmers at higher rates.  The experience.of Bangladesh in t h i s regard, discussed in Chapter V, o f f e r s evidence of such happenings.  33 (c)  Progressive land t a x a t i o n :  There i s at l e a s t the  t h e o r e t i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y that through the imposition of a progressive land tax the government can a t t a i n a considerable l e v e l of equity in the rural sector.  The idea i s that a high tax on the possession  of land beyond c e r t a i n l i m i t s may discourage the large land owners from keeping a l l that land at t h e i r d i s p o s a l .  T h i s , i t i s hoped by  the proponents of t h i s measure, w i l l help in an automatic e g a l i t a r i a n r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land. Problems of administering a progressive land taxation p o l i c y can, however, be overwhelming.  Proper information on land r e g i s t r a t i o n ,  which i s a p r e r e q u i s i t e f o r determining the l e v e l s of taxes to be paid by d i f f e r e n t households i s t y p i c a l l y absent i n most underdeveloped countries of today. to be very common.  Therefore, evasions are l i k e l y  The government cannot expect as e n t h u s i a s t i c a  p a r t i c i p a t i o n from the land-poor masses in implementing a tax p o l i c y as i t could in attempting to implement a land reform programme.  The  reason i s that the land-poor households do not perceive any immediate substantial gain from taxation p o l i c i e s c a r r i e d out by the ' d i s t a n t State'.  And without t h e i r wholehearted cooperation no such p o l i c i e s  of the government can meet with success. The b r i e f discussion above brings us to the conclusion that the measures that have usually been suggested as a l t e r n a t i v e s to land reform i n a t t a i n i n g equity can only have l i m i t e d success and cannot be a s u b s t i t u t e f o r land reform.  34 Land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n i n a t t a i n i n g equity:  When i t comes to the  question of a t t a i n i n g a more equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n of income through a land reform programme, the usual suggestion i s to r e d i s t r i b u t e part of the land belonging to the r e l a t i v e l y l a n d - r i c h among those who are r e l a t i v e l y land-poor.  However, as Berry has shown, i t i s a mistake  to assume that a l l such r e d i s t r i b u t i o n w i l l r e s u l t i n general welfare.^  The argument i s summarized i n the f o l l o w i n g .  Under conditions of perfect markets f o r the f a c t o r s of production and the product, and constant returns to s c a l e , f a c t o r proportions on farms would be s i z e - n e u t r a l .  That i s , a l l farms, small and l a r g e ,  would use various f a c t o r s of production in the same proportion.  Within  such circumstances, transference of land from one farm to the other would be equivalent to a t r a n s f e r of c a p i t a l and income.  Therefore,  land reform, through a r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of l a n d , would be able to achieve a more equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n , of income in a region where the i n i t i a l d i s t r i b u t i o n pattern was unequal. However, perfect markets are not a r e a l i t y .  Under conditions of  imperfect markets, r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land may not n e c e s s a r i l y mean a more equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n of income.  One can consider the f o l l o w i n g  R.A. Berry, 'Land Reform and the A g r i c u l t u r a l Income D i s t r i b u t i o n , Pakistan 1  Spring 1971.  Development  Review, V o l . XI,  No.  1,  35 two types of farms f o r the sake of t h e o r e t i c a l e x p o s i t i o n : (a) large farms, where landless wage-labour and some labour from smaller farms are employed, and (b) small farms, where c u l t i v a t i o n i s based on family labour. Now, i f land reform takes land from the large farms and d i s t r i b u t e s i t to the small farms, i t might hurt the landless wage-labour.  The important thing to consider in t h i s regard i s  the nature of the following r e l a t i o n s h i p : h where,  f  R, = the extra labour hired by r e c i p i e n t s of land a f t e r the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n . R  L  If R  W <;  h  = the labour that i s withdrawn from the wage-labour market by the r e c i p i e n t s of land so that they may apply t h i s labour to t h e i r own land (which increases in amount a f t e r the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land takes p l a c e ) . f  = the labour that gets f i r e d by the large farms due to t h e i r having to surrender some land they had o r i g i n a l l y owned.  + R  w  i s greater than l , f  the wage-earner w i l l benefit  since i t means that the e f f e c t i v e demand f o r t h e i r labour has, in f a c t , increased a f t e r the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n . f  If R, + R i s equal..'to> h w ^ the landless wage-earner maintains his o r i g i n a l status. If R. + R h w 3  3  i s less than L^, the wage-earner faces a decrease in the l e v e l of wage, which i s brought about by a decrease in the e f f e c t i v e demand f o r wage labour.  36 The e f f e c t that r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land to the small farms may have on the landless i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n Figure 1, which was  suggested  by B e r r y . ^  t o  \  3  \  O \  N  \ \  <D  \  o  "  >  \  V-J  rv:  ^  V  »|  \  •—  P' Labour  Figure 1.  Ibid.,  p.  34.  Land R e d i s t r i b u t i o n Among Small Farms and Its E f f e c t s on the Landless  L,  37 Total family labour a v a i l a b l e to a t y p i c a l small farm i s represented by OL in Figure 1. of labour f o r the farm.  MP represents the marginal product  ST i s the supply p r i c e of labour curve  which gives the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the wage at which the marginal i n d i v i d u a l would work o f f - t h e - f a r m and the units of labour on the farm.  Once the costs of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n and being away from home  are considered, the supply p r i c e of labour curve corresponding to MP s h i f t s up to  ST.  The units of labour offered as wage-labour by the farm i s measured to the l e f t along the X-axis with L as the o r i g i n .  If, for  example, the wage offered i s OW, the farm would be w i l l i n g to supply LL.! amount of Tabour to the wage market. Let i t now be supposed that a land reform programme i s implemented which gives some extra land to the farm, and that the marginal product of labour curve f o r the farm goes up to M ' P ' .  The  supply p r i c e of labour curve (considering costs of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n and being away from home) corresponding to M'P  1  i s S"T".  Here, i f  the wage offered i s OW, the t y p i c a l farm that i s being considered would o f f e r L L  2  amount of labour to the wage market.  R e d i s t r i b u t i o n of l a n d , in the context of Figure 1, has reduced the amount of labour offered to the wage market by the t y p i c a l small farm by the amount, LLi. - L L  2  = L Li 2  38 Whether the landless wage-labour w i l l benefit or not a f t e r the kind of land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n that has been considered here, would depend p a r t l y on. whether l l\is 2  greater or smaller than the labour  previously hired on the t r a n s f e r r e d land.  If i t i s g r e a t e r , the  landless wage earner gains; i f smaller, he loses. It i s possible to express the change in the demand f o r wagelabour a f t e r the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land takes place, say V, in the f o l l o w i n g way: t o t a l labour applied on small farms a f t e r redistribution  V  +  [ f a m i l y labour removed [from wage market  family labour applied on small farms a f t e r redistribution [labour applied on [large farms  If V a t t a i n s a p o s i t i v e value then one could say that the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land would increase the welfare of the wage-labourer. If V equals zero, his status remains unchanged.  When V i s negative,  his welfare decreases. What the above exercise t r i e s to demonstrate i s that a p o l i c y which attempts to d i s t r i b u t e income more equitably through a programme of land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n may do more harm than good i f a l l the consequences are not c a r e f u l l y considered in advance. Another point to note about the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of a programme of land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n in a t t a i n i n g equity in an area of high population density r e l a t e s to long run considerations.  Even i f the i n i t i a l  39 r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land succeeds i n removing the wide d i s p a r i t i e s , the i n e q u a l i t y may tend to reappear over time.  I f the r e c i p i e n t s  of new land are l e f t with very small farms even a f t e r the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n takes place, many of them may need to s e l l part or a l l of t h e i r land to the r e l a t i v e l y r i c h land owners (who are there i n s o f a r as the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land does not achieve absolute e q u a l i t y ) to meet unforeseen expenditures necessitated by emergencies l i k e a crop f a i l u r e .  It can be expected that these s e l l e r s of land  w i l l f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to gather enough money f o r buying land to regain t h e i r previous land-owning status.  Therefore, although one  can achieve some equity in the short run through r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land, much of i t can be l o s t due to the dynamics of demand-supply conditions in the land market.  ( i i ) Raising the l e v e l of a g r i c u l t u r a l production. If a land reform programme does not incorporate the objective of r a i s i n g the general l e v e l of a g r i c u l t u r a l production without much delay  then most other objectives set f o r i t become less meaningful.  Without an ultimate increase in the l e v e l of production, r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of income in most underdeveloped countries would r e s u l t in nothing better than shared poverty.  There are c e r t a i n r e l a t i o n s h i p s which  e x i s t between the size-tenure structure and p r o d u c t i v i t y i n the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector.  12  Therefore, a plan intended f o r r a i s i n g the  These r e l a t i o n s h i p s are discussed at length in Chapter pp. 140-209.  IV,  40 l e v e l of p r o d u c t i v i t y has to take into account the nature of s p e c i f i c r e l a t i o n s h i p s obtaining there in t h i s regard. The necessity of a f r u i t f u l adoption of the technology of the high y i e l d i n g v a r i e t i e s (HYVs) or some range of comparable technologies for  increasing p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land and labour cannot be  overemphasized.  Circumstances more conducive to the adoption of HYVs  (or some range of comparable technology) have to be created through a land reform programme i f the o b j e c t i v e of r a i s i n g the general of a g r i c u l t u r a l production i s to be a t t a i n e d .  level  This brings one to an  examination of how c e r t a i n arrangements in a g r i c u l t u r e may hinder t h i s adoption. Adoption of HYVs:  Although the HYVs are s i z e - n e u t r a l in terms of  c r o p - s p e c i f i c y i e l d s per unit of land, the bias of "green r e v o l u t i o n " technology nevertheless favours the r e l a t i v e l y large farmers. point i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n Figure 2.  The  13  Relative f a c t o r prices faced by the small farmer are represented by AB in Figure 2, and the ones faced by the Targe farmer are represented by CD.  The small farmer uses a technology depicted by the  l e v e l s of input-use corresponding to E. intensive "in nature.  This technology i s labour-  The technology expected to be used by large farms  can be represented by F, at which c a p i t a l i s used more i n t e n s i v e l y than labour.  The i l l u s t r a t i o n was proposed by K. G r i f f i n , The Economy of Agrarian  Revolution,  London:  Change:  An Essay on the Green  Political  The Macmillan Press, 1974, p. 50.  41  Figure 2.  Labour-intensive and C a p i t a l - I n t e n s i v e Technologies.  A new technology that f a l l s w i t h i n the area BGD represents an u l t r a - s u p e r i o r s i t u a t i o n f o r the large farms which face a r e l a t i v e l y low p r i c e of c a p i t a l and material inputs. in favour of the large farms.  The bias in t h i s case i s  To i l l u s t r a t e , isoquant qq may  p a r t i a l l y s h i f t to q q , thereby enabling the large farms to produce 1  p r o f i t a b l y in a more c a p i t a l - i n t e n s i v e way at F'.  The s h i f t i s  i r r e l e v a n t f o r the small farms since the only f e a s i b l e combination  42 of outputs to produce the given l e v e l of output (represented by the isoquant) s t i l l  corresponds to the previously attained point E.  Movement from F to F' by large farmers was made possible by the introduction of a more c a p i t a l - i n t e n s i v e technology. capital intensive.  HYVs are  Hence, the i n t r o d u c t i o n of HYVs in a s i t u a t i o n  of d i s p a r i t y in land ownership w i l l go in favour of the large farms. The b i o l o g i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of HYVs are such that they need heavy investments i n c o n t r o l l e d i r r i g a t i o n , chemical f e r t i l i z e r s and p r o t e c t i v e p e s t i c i d e s .  Smaller farms cannot gather enough  resources to make these investments.  Besides, r i s k a v e r s i o n , which  i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of small subsistence farming, requires that lumpy investments i n s i n g l e projects are avoided. The only way of a t t a i n i n g large scale adoption of HYVs conducive to general welfare i s , t h e r e f o r e , to make sure that the access to land and the various inputs enjoyed by most farmers i s such that the adoption becomes both f e a s i b l e and p r o f i t a b l e f o r a l l of them.  (iii)  Generating more employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s . The l e v e l to which labour i s u t i l i z e d on a farm i s c l o s e l y  r e l a t e d to i t s size-tenure s t r u c t u r e .  R e l a t i v e l y large land owners,  who depend on wage-labour f o r c u l t i v a t i n g t h e i r farmland, may end up employing fewer units of labour per unit of land than would be possible under owner c u l t i v a t i o n of small farms.  14  Therefore, the o b j e c t i v e of  For an elaboration of t h i s point see Chapter IV, pp. 194-195.  43  generating employment opportunities in the short run may require that dependence on wage-labour be reduced and that the farm area of those endowed with u n d e r - u t i l i z e d family labour be increased. In the long run, however, small farms are l i k e l y to get smaller i f the v i r g i n lands are exhausted and the arrangements f o r f a m i l y farming operations are continued under laws of i n h e r i t a n c e . U n d e r - u t i l i z a t i o n of family labour i s l i k e l y to reappear in these farms since they would be l e f t with a high man-land r a t i o .  In  view of the shortage of land, i t i s necessary to create opportunities of labour absorption at a larger scale not only on farmland, but o f f the farm as w e l l .  As Dorner puts i t :  "Labour u t i l i z a t i o n in a g r i c u l t u r e should be evaluated in a context wider than that pertaining only to work on the farm. The broader issue concerns the m o b i l i z a t i o n of labour and c a p i t a l f o r the development of r u r a l industry and of s o c i a l overhead c a p i t a l (or i n f r a s t r u c t u r e ) i n r u r a l areas."15 Therefore, a land reform programme, to be able to cater to the needs of long-term employment generation in the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector of a densely populated area, has to have the v i s i o n of that kind of an a g r i c u l t u r e which can provide the appropriate atmosphere f o r the generation of an increased level of savings, with which investments can be made to expand operations, both on and o f f the farm, w i t h i n the r u r a l areas.  What type of a land reform programme w i l l  best  serve t h i s purpose cannot, however, be i d e n t i f i e d without reference  P. Dorner, Land Reform  Middlesex:  and Economic  Development,  Penguin Books, 1972, p. 107.  44 to the objective conditions of the land-man r e l a t i o n s h i p obtaining in the country or region where reform i s to be c a r r i e d out.  ( i v ) Increasing the Marketable  Surplus.  It i s of great i n t e r e s t to the urban sector that the marketable 1g surplus from a g r i c u l t u r e be kept at high l e v e l s .  Urban consumers  want an assured supply of a g r i c u l t u r a l food items at prices they can afford.  Processors of raw materials l i k e to be assured of a steady  supply of the inputs they need from a g r i c u l t u r e .  S e l l e r s of consumer  items are interested in seeing the r u r a l sector monetized so that the market f o r t h e i r products i s extended.  Although generation of  marketable surplus f o r meeting such urban demands may, under c e r t a i n circumstances, create unfavourable terms of trade f o r a g r i c u l t u r e , creation of a surplus can also be important i n developing the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector i t s e l f .  Increased savings to enable greater  investments (for example, in the i n d u s t r i a l l y produced a g r i c u l t u r a l inputs) would not be possible without the monetization of a g r i c u l t u r e . The portion of the marketable surplus that can produce t h i s money income has been considered by Sanghvi as part of the " o b l i g a t o r y surplus" f o r the development of a g r i c u l t u r e . ^  Therefore, although  the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector may have to guard against the i n c l i n a t i o n of  See B.F. Johnston and J.W. Mel l o r , 'The Role of A g r i c u l t u r e i n Economic D e v e l o p m e n t A m e r i c a n Economic Review, V o l . L I , No. 4, September 1961, pp. 571-581. See P. Sanghvi, Surplus  Development,  Bombay:  Manpower in Agriculture  and  Economic  Asia Publishing House, 1969, pp. 186-198.  45 the urban sector to procure i t s surplus at unfavourable terms, a marketable surplus needs to be generated f o r the sake of a g r i c u l t u r e itself.  How favourable w i l l the terms offered be to a g r i c u l t u r e ,  and whether the proceeds of marketing w i l l be invested i n a g r i c u l t u r e , w i l l l a r g e l y depend upon the r e l a t i o n s h i p s of c u l t i v a t i n g peasants with the marketing agencies.  The most s u i t a b l e arrangement would  usually involve some form of producer-cooperative f o r marketing, so that dependence on middlemen, who can reduce both the control of peasants over the market and the flow of proceeds i n t o investments in a g r i c u l t u r e , can be minimized. The goal of increased marketable surplus may well be b e t t e r served in 'laissez-faire'  economies where concentration of land  ownership i s quite high.  However, marketable surplus coming from  a few large land owners i s not consistent with the goal of b e t t e r d i s t r i b u t i o n of income since the l i o n ' s share of such a commercialization would be pocketed by those few land owners.  In countries where the  concentration of land ownership i s ' n o t so acute, and where most c u l t i v a b l e land i s under very small family farms, there may hardly be a surplus a f t e r self-consumption by the f a m i l i e s .  P r i c e incentives  would be inappropriate under these circumstances.  Since farmers would  employ .most of t h e i r land to produce food grains f o r t h e i r own consumption, the p r i c e e l a s t i c i t y of acreage devoted to these crops  46 would be low. 18  P r i c e i n c e n t i v e s , which are based on the assumption  t h a t , w i t h i n the given i n s t i t u t i o n a l and technological circumstances, there e x i s t s enough excess capacity f o r production, are thus to meet with f a i l u r e .  likely  Therefore, i t i s important i n the designing  of land reform that an e f f e c t i v e way be found to increase marketable surplus. The objectives of land.reform discussed above are not % independent of each other.  For example, the achievement of a more  equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n of income may, under c e r t a i n circumstances, require that more employment opportunities are generated as a precondition.  In some cases these objectives may be in c o n f l i c t  with each other.  For example, certain.means of increasing the  l e v e l of p r o d u c t i v i t y may m i l i t a t e against the o b j e c t i v e of achieving greater l e v e l s of employment.  In t h i s way, a programme of land reform  becomes involved i n solving a much more complex agrarian problem than would be evident by merely looking at the l i s t of major o b j e c t i v e s .  D e f i n i t i o n of land reform: Although the necessity f o r implementing a land reform programme to achieve objectives such as those l i s t e d above has been stressed by numerous scholars and administrators i n many underdeveloped c o u n t r i e s , they have often f a i l e d to agree on what e x a c t l y should c o n s t i t u t e a  On the basis of data covering 1948-63 which were c o l l e c t e d from 9 d i f f e r e n t d i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh, Hussain has worked out the p r i c e e l a s t i c i t y of r i c e acreage i n Bangladesh to be only .05. See S.M. Hussain, "A Note on Farmer Response to P r i c e in East P a k i s t a n ' , Pakistan  Spring 1964.  Development  Review, V o l .  IV,  No.  1,  47 land reform programme.  The f o l l o w i n g statement made by Lehmann  i s worth noting in t h i s context: "When doctrines command widespread agreement, the time has usually come f o r a re-examination; when men who otherwise disagree on fundamental p o l i t i c a l values agree on an issue of importance, they are probably using c r u c i a l terms in widely d i f f e r i n g senses; ..."19 The problem of supplying a widely acceptable d e f i n i t i o n of land reform i s not rooted only in such subjective d i f f e r e n c e s , but also i s the r e s u l t of wide v a r i a t i o n s in agrarian s i t u a t i o n s and problems, from country to country and region to region. useful to l i m i t the meaning of the term t o :  It i s thus not very " . . . r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of  property or r i g h t s in land f o r the benefit of small farmers and 20 a g r i c u l t u r a l labourers".  While such a d e f i n i t i o n may s u i t the  purpose of a p a r t i c u l a r country i n i t s given s o c i a l , economic and p o l i t i c a l circumstances at a point i n time, i t would undoubtedly narrow down the scope of the term r a t h e r d r a s t i c a l l y .  On the other  hand, to produce a d e f i n i t i o n of land reform which would cover most of the possible s i t u a t i o n s would be to d i l u t e the essence of the term 21 to an extent which may render i t v i r t u a l l y useless. 19  See the Agrarian  20  Chile,  1  Introduction  1  by Lehmann in D. Lehmann (ed.),  Reform and Agrarian  China and India,  Reformism:  D. Warriner, Land Reform in Principle  21  Oxford:  Studies  of Peru,  London: Faber and Faber, 1974, p. 13. and  Clarendon Press, 1969, p. x i v .  Practice,  The i n t e g r a l d e f i n i t i o n used by the United Nations (see United Nations, Progress in Land Reform, New York, 1954, pp. IX-XI) i s one such d e f i n i t i o n . It suggests the use of the term to cover a l l changes i n a g r i c u l t u r a l or r u r a l i n s t i t u t i o n s that can accelerate economic, s o c i a l , and p o l i t i c a l development.  48 Hirsch has pointed out that one needs to understand the s p e c i f i c c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the pre-reform agrarian s i t u a t i o n of a country quite i n t i m a t e l y before being able to come up with a s u i t a b l e 22 d e f i n i t i o n of land reform f o r that country.  Information on the  f o l l o w i n g aspects, at a minimum, are necessary: 1.  Nature of development of the country concerned. Some of the relevant questions are: country p r i m a r i l y a g r i c u l t u r a l ? per  Is the  What i s the  capita real income of the rural population  and of the whole population?  What i s the l e v e l  of commercialization of a g r i c u l t u r e ? 2.  E x i s t i n g patterns of ownership of land and arrangements f o r c u l t i v a t i o n .  One may ask the  f o l l o w i n g questions in t h i s regard:  What i s the  nature of ownership d i s t r i b u t i o n of land among the r u r a l households?  Is the system based on wage-labour  c u l t i v a t i o n , sharecropping, o w n e r - c u l t i v a t i o n , or communal c u l t i v a t i o n ? 3.  Nature of the most pressing problems in the man-land r e l a t i o n s h i p of the country. are:  Some important questions  How important i s land in the s o c i a l , economic  and p o l i t i c a l l i v e s of the people?  Does the land  ownership pattern represent an unequal d i s t r i b u t i o n of  G.P. H i r s c h , 'Some Fundamentals of Land Reform', Oxford Agrarian Studies, V o l . I, No. 2 (New S e r i e s ) , 1972, pp. 136-137.  49 property ownership and income-earning  opportunities  even a f t e r income from other sources i s taken i n t o account?  Is the size-tenure structure creating  obstacles to a g r i c u l t u r a l e f f i c i e n c y i n terms of higher y i e l d s per unit of land and labour?  Is the  structure preventing the adoption of an improved and viable  technology?  Answers to these questions are expected to vary s i g n i f i c a n t l y from one country to another and also from one region to another. Therefore, one i s well advised to wait t i l l  the questions posed above  (and other r e l a t e d questions) are s a t i s f a c t o r i l y answered with regard to the country or region one intends to study before developing a d e f i n i t i o n of land reform which can prove useful in the given context.  Models of land reform: Depending upon the nature of the pre-reform agrarian society and the v i s i o n of the needed change in t h i s s o c i e t y , i t i s possible to conceive a number of 'models' of land reform. four such models i s undertaken below.  A b r i e f discussion  of  Although not representative of  a l l possible kinds of reform, these models are often used as c e n t r a l guidelines f o r reforms, (i)  R e d i s t r i b u t i v i s t reform. This kind of a reform i s commonly suggested i n areas where the  ownership d i s t r i b u t i o n of land i s extremely skewed or where there i s a large number of very small farms and landless households who are found  50 to barely maintain subsistence from a v a i l a b l e land (or other income producing sources), and who could be benefited by a programme of r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land from the r e l a t i v e l y large land owners.  Thus,  the r e d i s t r i b u t i v i s t reform i s based p r i m a r i l y on immediate equity considerations.  Proponents of t h i s kind of reform have also argued,  however, that t h e i r programmes would be able t o achieve both greater equity and increased e f f i c i e n c y i n a g r i c u l t u r a l production since the  23 smaller farms would tend to u t i l i z e land more i n t e n s i v e l y . The i n i t i a l requirement of the reform i s to impose, through l e g i s l a t i o n , a c e i l i n g on land s u f f i c i e n t l y low to provide a  'surplus'  of land which can be d i s t r i b u t e d among the small land-owning  households  and the landless households to r a i s e t h e i r farm sizes to ' d e s i r a b l e ' levels.  The question that immediately comes to mind i s what these  ' d e s i r a b l e ' and 'maximum' farm sizes should be.  The answer would  depend on whether the goal i s to a l l e v i a t e only the burden of absolute poverty suffered by the poorest without worrying about the question of r e l a t i v e poverty among various groups, or t o s u b s t a n t i a l l y reduce e x i s t i n g intergroup d i s p a r i t i e s i n land ownership. The d i s t r i b u t i v i s t reform generally suggests that the dispossessed land owners be given compensations, which are to be u l t i m a t e l y borne by the r e c i p i e n t s of land.  A programme of i n p u t - s u b s i d i z a t i o n coupled  with extension work i s suggested to ensure the economic v i a b i l i t y  See Hossain (1974),op.oit., p. 493, and Khan (1972), op.cit., pp. 133-134.  51 of the newly created small farms.  The essence of the d i s t r i b u t i v i s t  reform can be summarized in the f o l l o w i n g way: Imposition of a low c e i l i n g on land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of ' s u r p l u s ' land among the small farmers and the landless - . family farm operations with subsidized inputs and extension services f o r a minimum period subsequent to the reform. ( i i ) Reform aimed at cooperative farming. Advocates of reform based on cooperative (as d i s t i n c t from c o l l e c t i v i s t ) farming generally accept the v i s i o n of an agrarian s o c i e t y based on i n d i v i d u a l family farming. cooperation among the farm households  They maintain, however, that i s necessary f o r i n f r a s t r u c t u r a l  developments, technological s h i f t s and to reap economies of scale i n c e r t a i n aspects of production and marketing of output.  They have  suggested that i n d i v i d u a l farms should j o i n in cooperative s o c i e t i e s which could encourage or require members t o save and pool some of t h e i r income out of which members can, when appropriate, seek loans from the cooperatives.  These loans could then be used to invest in  buying q u a l i t y inputs which would be supplied through the cooperatives. The savings could also finance some overhead and organizational facilities.  The argument i s that when the small savings made by the  i n d i v i d u a l members are pooled together, a large sum can be gathered which, when used f o r extending loans and financing overheads, can take care of the basic c r e d i t requirements of a g r i c u l t u r a l development.  It  i s hoped that the process would be s e l f - p e r p e t u a t i n g i n that the i n i t i a l  52 operation, i f s u c c e s s f u l , is l i k e l y to increase the incentive to save and invest and, t h e r e f o r e , to r a i s e p r o d u c t i v i t y , marketable surpluses and savings p o t e n t i a l .  Though i n i t i a l success may depend  upon substantial government subsidies t o provide members with s u f f i c i e n t i n i t i a l c r e d i t and extension s e r v i c e s , i t i s argued that the cooperatives would o f f e r the government an e f f e c t i v e medium through which to help smaller farmers without wasting much time or resource i n bureaucratic processes, and that the cooperatives would soon become s e l f - f i n a n c i n g , having l i t t l e need f o r p u b l i c subsidy. An important consideration with regard to the a b i l i t y of the cooperatives to achieve better l i v i n g conditions f o r a l l i s whether or not a programme of land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n has to precede c o o p e r a t i v i zation.  It may be found that membership in the cooperatives w i l l be  d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to the e q u a l i t y achieved in ownership of land.  In  an i n e g a l i t a r i a n s i t u a t i o n i t would be d i f f i c u l t to develop community i n t e r e s t s i n development p r o j e c t s . . The r e a l i z a t i o n of t h i s f a c t o r has influenced some of the proponents of cooperative farming to suggest a land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n programme before c o o p e r a t i v i z a t i o n of the a n c i l l a r y functions i s achieved, ( i i i ) Reform aimed at state farming. In a state farming system the ownership r i g h t s of land are vested in the s t a t e , and the c u l t i v a t i o n of land i s c a r r i e d out with wage-labour managed by s a l a r i e d personnel.  The purpose i s to create  f o r government greater f l e x i b i l i t y and control over production choices  53 (involving such f a c t o r s as technology and cropping p a t t e r n s ) , marketing d e c i s i o n s , and also d i s t r i b u t i o n of income among r u r a l households. The argument f o r state farming can be made more strongly in c e r t a i n contexts than in others.  If the government f e e l s that  a d d i t i o n a l foreign exchange earnings are c r i t i c a l  f o r the n a t i o n ' s  f u r t h e r development, i t may f i n d entrepreneurial responses i n producing exportable items to be inadequate under e x i s t i n g arrangements. If the government f e e l s i t has the bureaucratic and technical expertise to launch a comprehensive programme of p u b l i c involvement in a g r i c u l t u r e , then, under the stated circumstances, i t may consider the case of state farming to be a strong one.  When i t comes to the question of  d i s t r i b u t i o n of income in an equitable manner, the c r i t i c a l considerations become the effectiveness of the government machineries of monetary and f i s c a l p o l i c i e s and how extensive a p o l i c y of income control w i l l be imposed throughout the s o c i e t y . It i s understood that conversion from a family farming system (or any other system) to a state farming system cannot be achieved overnight. It w i l l involve taking over of the management of farming, t r a d i t i o n a l l y in the hands of i n d i v i d u a l households, by the s t a t e .  If i t i s to be  achieved without undue coercion, t h i s w i l l require that these households get 'adequate' compensation.  This i n i t i a l  cost has to be supplemented  with various other costs of reorganizing a g r i c u l t u r e through bureaucratic procedures.  Therefore, the government has to be on a strong f i n a n c i a l  54 as well as bureaucratic f o o t i n g .  The c o s t - b e n e f i t analysis has to  be c a r r i e d out very c a r e f u l l y since a g r i c u l t u r e i s too large an enterprise to permit the government to subsidize a continued loss in i t s operations. ( i v ) Reform aimed at group ( c o l l e c t i v i s t ) farming. In t h i s kind of reform the emphasis i s on the attempt to equalize income-earning opportunities through the achievement of equal access to j o i n t l y owned land f o r . a l l households.  In a group farming unit the  a v a i l a b l e land and c a p i t a l assets are owned c o l l e c t i v e l y and c u l t i v a t i o n i s also a j o i n t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y .  Income accruing to an  i n d i v i d u a l member generally depends upon the 'work p o i n t s ' he accumulates.  The decisions on production, income d i s t r i b u t i o n and investment  are a l l made c o l l e c t i v e l y or by representative committees of the membership. The usual strategy suggested f o r the transformation of a family farming system i n t o a group farming.system i s a gradual one.  The  i n i t i a l phase involves the removal of any large skews in the d i s t r i b u t i o n of land ownership. and t h e i r implementation.  This c a l l s f o r c e i l i n g l e g i s l a t i o n s  The next phase i s to encourage group  ownership and c u l t i v a t i o n among sections  of the farm households whose  decisions can be more e a s i l y influenced through moral suasion and material i n c e n t i v e s .  It becomes very important to demonstrate  e f f i c i e n t operation of these farms i f other sections of the r u r a l households are to be induced to j o i n the group farming system.  This  55 can be associated with heavy government s u b s i d i z a t i o n of the f i r s t ' p i l o t ' group farms.  Such d i r e c t state supports have to be withdrawn  t a c t f u l l y i f the group farms are to be s e l f - p r o p e l l i n g , and t h i s c o n s t i t u t e s a d e l i c a t e problem f o r the i n i t i a t i o n and v i a b i l i t y of the system. It i s often suggested that the group farming system would also increase long-term productive e f f i c i e n c y i n a g r i c u l t u r e .  The arguments  are much the same as extended by the proponents of cooperative farming. However, i t i s emphasized here that t o t a l group commitment to the process of a g r i c u l t u r a l development requires a convergence of group i n t e r e s t s which can be best attained by group ownership and group cultivation.  The scenario of land reform aimed at group farming can  be summarized in the f o l l o w i n g way: Imposition of a low c e i l i n g on land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of ' s u r p l u s ' land among small farmers and the landless gradual conversion of ownership r i g h t s i n t o usufructuary r i g h t s conducive to farming by group ventures.  P o l i t i c a l f a c t o r s a f f e c t i n g the i n i t i a t i o n and implementation of reform: The economic promise of a land reform programme usually cannot in i t s e l f create enough i n c e n t i v e among the r u l i n g e l i t e t o i n i t i a t e a land reform.  The e l i t e w i l l always weigh the p o l i t i c a l costs and  benefits before embarking on them.  A f u l l - f l e d g e d land reform w i l l ,  in a l l l i k e l i h o o d , create favourable responses among some groups  56  within the r u r a l s o c i e t y , and unfavourable reactions among others. If the e l i t e in power f e e l s that the p o l i t i c a l benefits of making a l l i e s with the favoured groups are outweighed by the costs of a l i e n a t i n g the dispossessed the programme.  then i t w i l l not i n i t i a t e or support  Insofar as land reform can benefit a majority of the  impoverished r u r a l households, i t may be able to earn new legitimacy for a power-elite.  It w i l l obviously be a valuable p o l i t i c a l  asset  with which to earn greater confidence of the peasantry at l a r g e . However, in s i t u a t i o n s where the r e l a t i v e l y large land owners are represented heavily in the p o l i t i c a l power s t r u c t u r e , one cannot hope that such legitimacy w i l l be sought from the peasantry.  But, in  circumstances where a r u l i n g e l i t e (for example, an urban-based or military e l i t e ) i s expected to benefit b y : c u r t a i l i n g the p o l i t i c a l power of the r e l a t i v e l y large land, owners, a quick decision might well be forthcoming to seek such popular legitimacy.  For example, i f a  manufacturing sector i s expected to develop very r a p i d l y , the r u l i n g e l i t e may f i n d i t necessary to strengthen i t s i n d u s t r i a l power base, which may, in c e r t a i n circumstances, be possible only through the curtailment of some of the powers of the landed c l a s s .  The r e s u l t  might be a land reform which would favourably a f f e c t the low-income groups w i t h i n the r u r a l community. The nature of the e l i t e in power w i l l determine not only whether a land reform programme w i l l be i n i t a t e d , but also w i l l d i c t a t e the content of the programme that may be undertaken.  In t h i s context i t  57 i s useful to f o l l o w the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of e l i t e s suggested by 24 Tai.  He i d e n t i f i e s the f o l l o w i n g two categories of e l i t e s : ( i ) e l i t e s who are separated  from the landed  class, (ii)  e l i t e s who are cooperative  with the  landed c l a s s . Which of the above two kinds of e l i t e s i s in power can be expected to be r e l a t e d to the nature of the agrarian structure and to other h i s t o r i c a l circumstances.  However, the obvious point here  is that any land reform programme that s e r i o u s l y aims to c u r t a i l the p r i v i l e g e d p o s i t i o n of the r e l a t i v e l y l a n d - r i c h households cannot be expected to come from those e l i t e s who are cooperative with the landed class. y  Tai goes on to subdivide the cooperative e l i t e s into dominant  and c o n c i l i a t o r y e l i t e s , the former with dominant representation of non-land i n t e r e s t s , and the l a t t e r with greater representation of landed interests.  Among these two sub-groups of e l i t e s , the dominant e l i t e s  can be expected to implement programmes of land reform which are r e l a t i v e l y more b e n e f i c i a l to the poor.  However, as a precondition f o r  any meaningful land reform, i t i s often necessary that the p o t e n t i a l b e n e f i c i a r i e s of the reform be organized to provide a p o l i t i c a l from which systematic pressure f o r change can be exerted.  base  In other  words, the strength of peasant m o b i l i z a t i o n by organized p o l i t i c a l  H-C.  T a i , Land Reform and Politics,  Berkeley:  of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1974, pp. 90-93.  University  58 p a r t i e s plays an important r o l e in formulating and implementing land reforms.  Plan of Study  With the above conceptual framework in mind, the purpose of the present study i s to focus upon the nature of problems which emerge from the size-tenure structure in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , and to i n v e s t i g a t e prospects of a l t e r n a t i v e land reform programmes in solving 25 these problems. The next chapter (Chapter III)  w i l l f i r s t present a h i s t o r i c a l  review of the man-land r e l a t i o n s h i p in Bangladesh.  Concurrently with  an economic analysis of the past, an account w i l l be presented of the main p o l i t i c a l developments which have affected the man-land r e l a t i o n s h i p in the country over time.  This w i l l be f o l l o w e d , in  the same chapter, by an elaboration of the d i f f e r e n t aspects of the size-tenure structure i n Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e .  Regional  variations  w i t h i n the country are also to be pointed out in t h i s context. Chapter IV w i l l f u r t h e r i n v e s t i g a t e the r o l e of the size-tenure arrangements in determining the problem of p e r s i s t e n t poverty and i n e q u a l i t y in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e .  In discussing the nature of  some of these problems, necessary t h e o r e t i c a l expositions w i l l be attempted p r i o r to making relevant empirical i n v e s t i g a t i o n s .  The purpose of the present study has been discussed greater d e t a i l in Chapter I, pp. 4-5.  in  59 Chapter V w i l l concern i t s e l f with the context of land reform f o r Bangladesh and w i l l s t a r t with a discussion of the various objectives which may be set f o r the reform.  The economic prospects  of the various land reform models (developed in Chapter II)  w i l l be  analysed in reference to the context, of Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e .  This  chapter w i l l also attempt to set out the p o l i t i c a l f a c t o r s conditioning the reform.  The previous experiences of Bangladesh and also those of  c e r t a i n other countries with regard to the various  'models' of land  reform w i l l be noted to help e l u c i d a t e the case f o r a l t e r n a t i v e land reform programmes in Bangladesh. Chapter VI w i l l conclude the thesis with a summary of f i n d i n g s , followed by a consideration of the p o l i c y i m p l i c a t i o n s a r i s i n g from the study.  60  III.  ORGANIZATION OF LAND IN BANGLADESH AGRICULTURE:  PAST AND PRESENT  H i s t o r i c a l Review  Recorded accounts of the h i s t o r y of land tenure in Bengal (part of which i s now Bangladesh)  show that as f a r back as the times  of the e a r l y Hindu period, which existed about three thousand years ago, the ownership of land was in the hands of i n d i v i d u a l s rather than communities J  However, i t was not uncommon f o r the v i l l a g e r s  to group together in communities to defend t h e i r t e r r i t o r i e s from outside t h r e a t s .  These communities operated by exacting a share of  the produce from i n d i v i d u a l c u l t i v a t o r s .  The headman or the c h i e f t a i n  in the v i l l a g e community at times became extremely powerful and attained the p o s i t i o n of a v i r t u a l r u l e r of the land of a number of neighbouring v i l l a g e s . When Bengal came under the r u l e of the Mughals during the sixteenth century, the l o c a l c h i e f t a i n s were allowed to keep on c o n t r o l l i n g the areas under t h e i r influence on condition that they would c o l l e c t revenue from the land and forward i t to the State.  This  was a convenient arrangement f o r the Mughals who did not have adequate  See Government of Bengal , Report  Bengal,  V o l . I, A l i p o r e :  of the Land Revenue  Commission,  Bengal Government Press, 1940, p. 7.  61 access to the i n t e r i o r of the country during the e a r l y days of their rule.  Thus, the intermediate 'government  (landlords) f l o u r i s h e d during Mughal r u l e .  1  of the  zamindavs  In a d d i t i o n to revenue  c o l l e c t i o n , the task of maintenance and extension of the basic i n f r a s t r u c t u r e of the v i l l a g e s was bestowed upon them.  They  maintained c e r t a i n armed agencies of enforcement ( f o r example, and bavkandazes)  paiks  which were e s s e n t i a l in preserving the authority  they enjoyed. The i n s t i t u t i o n of zamindavi British rule.  The zamindavs  f l o u r i s h e d f u r t h e r during the  under B r i t i s h administration were given  proprietary r i g h t s to the land, and the revenue which was to be paid to the State by them were f i x e d in perpetuity through the enactment of the Permanent Settlement in 1.793.  It was the hope of the B r i t i s h  r u l e r s t h a t , under such arrangements, the zamindavs  would not only  help in the c o l l e c t i o n of land revenue, but would also make substantial investments in a g r i c u l t u r e .  The argument was that since rents demanded  by the State were f i x e d , and not proportional to the t o t a l a g r i c u l t u r a l produce of the land, the zamindavs  would f i n d i t p r o f i t a b l e to invest  in a g r i c u l t u r e so that the rent charged by them from the  vaiyats  ( c u l t i v a t o r s ) could be increased, which would mean an equivalent increase i n the incomes of the zamindavs.  In the words of Lord  Cornwall i s , under whose auspices the Permanent Settlement came i n t o  62 being, the Settlement would be j u s t i f i e d because, " . . . the large c a p i t a l s possessed by many of the natives in Calcutta which are now employed in usury or monopolizing s a l t and other necessaries of l i f e w i l l be appropriated to the more useful purposes of purchasing and improving land."2 The optimism conveyed by the above statement was f u r t h e r stressed by Cornwallis on the eve of the proclamation of the Permanent Settlement, " . . . there i s every ground to expect that the large c a p i t a l s possessed by the natives ... w i l l be applied to the purchase of landed property as soon as the tenure i s declared to be secure, and they are capable of estimating what p r o f i t they w i l l be c e r t a i n of deriving from i t , by the public tax upon i t being unalterably f i x e d . " 3 Although the Permanent Settlement was successful  in a t t r a c t i n g  large volumes of c a p i t a l in the purchase of l a n d , very l i t t l e of i t was spent on 'improving' land, as Cornwallis had hoped.  As a r e s u l t 4  the p r o d u c t i v i t y of a g r i c u l t u r e remained extremely low. be i n s t r u c t i v e to know why the zamindars  It would  in Bengal f a i l e d to act in  the same way as did t h e i r counterparts, the landlords in England who demonstrated such good husbandry that Cornwallis f e l t i t worthwhile to r e p l i c a t e the arrangement i n India. c  3  Quoted i n R. Guha, A Rule of Property for Bengal: An Essay on the Idea of Permanent Settlement, P a r i s : Monton & Co., 1968, p. Ibid.,  p.  ^ See M.M.  172.  172. Islam, Bengal Agriculture,  Cambridge:  1920-1946: A Quantitative  Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1978, p. 185.  Study,  63 The performance of the landlords in England can be explained to a considerable extent by the process of urbanization set i n motion by the Industrial Revolution which had the e f f e c t of r a i s i n g the prices of a g r i c u l t u r a l produce.  Under such circumstances  "the  l a n d l o r d s ' gross return on t h e i r investment was between 15 to 20 per cent as against a return of only 5 or 6 per cent from land 5 purchase".  The I n d u s t r i a l Revolution also had an impact on the  labour market which favoured investments by landlords in land improvement.  Because of the increasing opportunities i n the  i n d u s t r i a l s e c t o r , the landlords found i t imperative to make these investments i f they were to a t t r a c t s u f f i c i e n t numbers of tenants to c u l t i v a t e t h e i r land. The s i t u a t i o n in Bengal was very d i f f e r e n t from that in England. Because of the existence of a.high demand f o r land in the land-rent market (brought about by the increasing man-land r a t i o in a g r i c u l t u r e ) the zamindavs of land.  found i t exceedingly p r o f i t a b l e to invest in the purchase  There are several reasons why they did not perceive as large  a p r o f i t i n investing c a p i t a l f o r a g r i c u l t u r a l production.  In the  event of taking up a g r i c u l t u r e as a business enterprise in the t r a d i t i o n a l sense, the zamindavs  would have to gear t h e i r production  for meeting foreign demands, since the domestic market was l i m i t e d in  ^ Ibid.,  p.  186.  64 size.  The associated u n c e r t a i n t i e s of demands f o r t h e i r produce  would act as one of the deterrents to making such investments by the zamindavs.  A l s o , there would be u n c e r t a i n t i e s in the l e v e l s of  competition to be faced from other countries producing s i m i l a r a g r i c u l t u r a l commodities f o r the purpose of exporting.  Since the  export trade in Bengal and elsewhere in India was monopolized by f o r e i g n e r s , the zamindavs  would.find a d d i t i o n a l reasons to expect  a less than adequate share of the proceeds from export of t h e i r produce.  On top of a l l t h i s , the u n c e r t a i n t i e s of natural f a c t o r s  i n f l u e n c i n g a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i v i t y in Bengal; f o r example, the timing of the onset and the duration of monsoons, as well as the lengthy gestation gap involved in obtaining ' s a t i s f a c t o r y '  returns  from investments in a g r i c u l t u r a l production would f u r t h e r prompt the zamindavs  to be less e n t h u s i a s t i c about making these investments.  Thus, they were found to concentrate on the purchase of land f o r almost the exclusive purpose of renting i t out. One important aspect of the zamindavi  system in India was that  the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of revenue c o l l e c t i o n was often passed on to intermediate agencies.  These intermediaries were to c o l l e c t  from the land of the zamindavs  and extend to them (the zamindavs)  previously f i x e d amount of revenue. were c a l l e d talukdavs,  revenues a  These new tenure-holders, who  made sure that they c o l l e c t e d enough revenue  The l i m i t e d s i z e of the domestic market was an i n e v i t a b l e r e s u l t of the B r i t i s h p o l i c y of turning India into an economy based p r i m a r i l y on the export of primary products.  65 from the raiyats  to be l e f t with a 'proper' income a f t e r paying  the amounts due to the zamindars.  The talukdars  themselves were  frequently responsible f o r the creation of f u r t h e r intermediate tenures.  Thus, they handed over part of t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of  revenue c o l l e c t i o n to patni-talukdars.  The patni-talukdars,  in  t h e i r t u r n , would create f u r t h e r intermediaries known as dar-patni on.  talukdars.  The process of subinfeudation would thus go  Huq reports that in 1911 there were as many as 20 grades of  subinfeudation i n the d i s t r i c t of Bakerganj (which i s now divided i n t o the d i s t r i c t s of B a r i s a l and PatuakhaTi).^ The subinfeudation of Bengal a g r i c u l t u r e has often been blamed for  the poor investments made in the a g r i c u l t u r a l production process,  and the subsequent low p r o d u c t i v i t y of land and labour. the  For example,  Land Revenue Commission of.Bengal reported t h a t , "The system has severed the connection between the zamindars and r a i y a t s in estates where subinfeudation e x i s t s , and has defeated the i n t e n t i o n of Lord Cornwallis to e s t a b l i s h a landlord and'tenant system in Bengal on the English model. It has prevented the zamindars from f u l f i l l i n g the functions which provide the economic j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r a landlord and tenant system, because with few exceptions the tenure-holders immediately above the r a i y a t s have neither the incentive nor the c a p i t a l to e f f e c t a g r i c u l t u r a l improvement."8  M. Huq, Final Report on the Revisional Survey and Settlement Operations in'the district of Bakerganj, 1940-42 and 1945-54,  Dacca: Government of East Pakistan, East Pakistan Government Press, 1957, p. 53; (Huq's f i g u r e obtained from Abdullah, op:cit.,  Government of Bengal, op.cit.,  p. 34.  p. 69).  66 The problem of subinfeudation was not, however, evenly d i s t r i b u t e d throughout Bengal.  For example, whereas only 34% of  the t o t a l land under the zamindavis d i r e c t control of the zamindavs,  of Faridpur were under the  the corresponding figures f o r 9  Dacca and Mymensingh were 64% and 66% r e s p e c t i v e l y .  This shows  that there were large areas of Bengal which were f r e e of the problems of subinfeudation.  However, these areas were not  characterized by any appreciable amount of c a p i t a l investment f o r raising agricultural productivity.either.  Therefore, one cannot be  convinced that the root cause of the problem was the s u b i n f e u d a t i o n . ^ As argued e a r l i e r , the explanation has to be sought by i n v e s t i g a t i n g whether the expected rate of.return:from investing i n enhancing a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i v i t y by the zamindavs  was greater or smaller than  what could be obtained by purchasing, and then renting out, land.  It  has been hypothesized here that the p r o f i t s from the l a t t e r were perceived to be higher by the zamindavs,  and hence the low investment  in r a i s i n g p r o d u c t i v i t y . ^  Islam, op.ait.,p.  192.  It i s to be noted here that the tenure-holders were to pay a fixed part of t h e i r revenue earnings to t h e i r superiors so that the nature of t h e i r incentives were s i m i l a r to that of the  zamindavs.  One might argue that the very existence of intermediary tenure categories would seem to contradict t h i s hypothesis that the zamindavs perceived a high rate of return from renting out land and were i n t e r e s t e d in enjoying such returns. However, one must not f a i l to see the p o s s i b i 1 i t y that the zamindavs might have properties scattered over d i f f e r e n t d i s t r i c t s which necessitated the creation of intermediaries. Besides, those zamindavs busy with d i f f e r e n t urban occupations would also be expected to r e l y on such intermediaries.  67 Whether numerous intermediaries were involved i n the c o l l e c t i o n of land revenue or not, the burden of revenue on the vaiyat usually a heavy one.  was  Exactions of the Permanent Settlement have  been described in the following words by Wheeler, "The t r u t h cannot be doubted that the poor and industrious tenant i s taxed by his Zamindar, or C o l l e c t o r f o r every extravagance that a v a r i c e , ambition, p r i d e , vanity or intemperance may lead him i n t o , over and above what i s generally deemed the established rent of his lands. If he i s to be married, a c h i l d born, honours conferred, luxury indulged, and sufferances and f i n e s exacted even f o r his own misconduct, a l l must be paid by the r y o t . And.what heightens the d i s t r e s s f u l scene, the more opulent, who can better obtain redress f o r i m p o s i t i o n , escape, while the weak are obliged to s u b m i t . " ^ When the raiyats  started showing signs of serious unrest over  the exercise of a r b i t r a r y power by the zamindars,  the government  f e l t that i t was necessary to take c e r t a i n steps to appease them. Consequently, the Rent Acts of 1859 and 1869 and the Tenancy Act of 1885 were put through.  Quoted in B.N.  These Acts were d i r e c t e d toward s p e l l i n g out  Datta,. Dialectics  of Land Economics  of  India,  C a l c u t t a : Mohendra Publishing Committee, 1952, pp. 127-28, and the source mentioned i s Wheeler, Early Records of British  India,  p.  373.  68 the r i g h t s of d i f f e r e n t categories of tenure.  Three classes  of  13 raiyats  were defined: 1.  Raiyats  at f i x e d rent:  The raiyats  who could  prove that from the time of the Permanent Settlement they themselves or t h e i r ancestors were holding the land at the same rent belonged to t h i s category.  They were v i r t u a l owners of  the land they operated upon.  Their i n t e r e s t s in  land were t r a n s f e r a b l e and h e r i t a b l e .  Also they  could mortgage and sublease t h e i r land. the raiyats  In short,  could use t h e i r land in any way they  pleased so long as the revenue was paid in due time. If revenue payments were not made in time, the at  f i x e d rent could not be ejected o u t r i g h t .  raiyats However,  part of t h e i r holdings could be s o l d . t o gather unpaid revenue i f decreed by court. 2.  Occupancy raiyats:  The land occupied by these  was h e r i t a b l e but not t r a n s f e r a b l e .  raiyats  The Rent Acts of  1859 and 1869 had incorporated provisions which allowed t r a n s f e r of land by occupancy raiyats two circumstances - a) in cases where the obtained permission from his zamindar  under raiyat  to make the  Much of the information on these classes of raiyats obtained from Abdullah, op.cit.  has been  69 t r a n s f e r , b) where l o c a l custom authorized such transfers.  The occupancy raiyats  were not  permitted to use t h e i r land i n any way they pleased.  Even a f t e r the Rent Acts and the  Tenancy Act they could be evicted i f they did not use the land under them i n the way that was prescribed by the State.  With regard to payments  of revenues on time, they shared the same r i g h t s with the raiyats.at 3.  f i x e d rent.  Non-occupancy raiyats:  These raiyats  were denied  the r i g h t s of t r a n s f e r or inheritance of t h e i r land unless these were allowed by custom. f i r s t two categories of raiyats,  Unlike the  the non-occupancy  could be ejected f o r non-payment of revenues  raiyats in time.  The rent paid by them could be increased and  depended on market f o r c e s . Thus, while the f i r s t two categories of raiyats  were given, by the  law of the book, some p r o t e c t i o n , the non-occupancy raiyats insecure a f t e r the Rent Acts and the Tenancy Act.  were s t i l l  The raiyati  area i n  the part of Bengal that now forms Bangladesh had a predominant number of occupancy raiyats.  B e l l reports that i n the d i s t r i c t of Dinajpur 14  85% of the area under raiyati  F.O.  B e l l , Final  Report  i n t e r e s t was held by occupancy  on the Survey  and Settlement  raiyats.  Operations  in the District of Dinajpur, 1934-40, A l i p o r e : Bengal Government Press, 1942, p. 86; ( t h i s f i g u r e provided by B e l l has been obtained from Abdullah, op.cit., p. 78).  70 The Tenancy Acts had provisions f o r increasing the rents payable by these vaiyats  to the revenue c o l l e c t o r under the f o l l o w i n g  circumstances: (1)  when the rate i s below the p r e v a i l i n g rate i n the  v i l l a g e or the neighbouring v i l l a g e ,  (2)  when the average p r i c e of food crops r i s e s ,  (3)  when the productive q u a l i t y of land i s improved by the action of the landlords,  (4)  when the productive e f f i c i e n c y of land i s improved by f l u v i a l a c t i o n .  It can be e a s i l y understood from the above that the Acts provided the  zamindavs  and the intermediary tenure-holders with s u f f i c i e n t  opportunity to increase rent at rates which were l i k e l y to be a r b i t r a r y by the very nature of the grounds on which.the increase was permitted by law.  Islam has provided some data ( o r i g i n a l l y from the reports on  Land Revenue Administration of the Bengal Presidency) which show the increases in the legal rents paid by the vaiyats 15 25 years.  These data are presented in Table 1.  Islam, op.oit.,  p. 190.  over a s t r e t c h of  71 Table 1.  Gross Rental Paid by Raiyats D i f f e r e n t Periods  During  Total Legal Rental (in thousand Rupees)  Year  Index  1914/1.5 - 1918/19  122,388  100  1919/20 - 1923/24  139,556  113  1924/25 - 1928/29  148,842  120  1929/30 - 1933/34  161,466  131  1934/35 - 1938/39  169,996  138  Source:  M.M.  Islam, Bengal Agriculture,  1920-1946:  A Quantitative Study, Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1978, p. 190. (Originally from Government of Bengal, Report on Land Revenue Administration  of the Bengal Presidency.  )  As Table 1 shows, the increase in the legal rent over the period of time under consideration (1914/15 - 1938/39) was nearly 40%.  It  i s to be noted here that the t o t a l r e n t a l s reported in Table 1 do not include the abwabs ( i l l e g a l cesses).  Mukerjee reports that instances was as high See R. Mukerjee, Land Green & Co., 1933, p.  16  That the zamindars  were not  the incidence of abwdb. in c e r t a i n as 120% of the legal raiyati rental. Problems of India, London: Longmans, 133.  72 always respectful of the l e g a l i t i e s of the r i g h t s of the  raiyats  has been well expressed by Abdullah, "The zemindars undoubtedly got away with a great deal that was i l l e g a l . The paiks and barkandazes of the zemindars maintained a law and order in the v i l l a g e s that did not always coincide with the noble ideals of benevolent l e g i s l a t o r s . A raiyat could be beaten up, his standing crop d i s t r a i n e d , and sometimes his house set on f i r e , and i f a s u i t ensued, p o l i c e o f f i c e r s as well as witnesses could be bribed or ( i n the case of witnesses) b u l l i e d to ensure a favourable v e r d i c t . This was a l l the more probable as lawyers and judges were c l o s e l y connected, by b i r t h , marriage or purchase, with the landed aristocracy. 7  It was i n c r e a s i n g l y being f e l t that the Tenancy Act of Bengal, which was enacted in 1885, required some amendments i f the e x p l o i t a t i o n of the raiyats  were to be reduced.  A committee was appointed in 1921,  of which S i r John Kerr was made the Chairman, f o r suggesting appropriate amendments to the Act.  Among other t h i n g s , the Committee suggested  that occupancy r i g h t s should be extended to cover sharecroppers. However, in the face of strong opposition from the zamindars  and other  landed i n t e r e s t groups, the amendments were not o f f i c i a l l y adopted. When the Tenancy Act of 1885 was f i n a l l y amended in 1928, nothing more than the f i x a t i o n of the t r a n s f e r fee (payable by the raiyat  i f he  decided to sublet his land) was achieved which could be considered 18 important. status.  The sharecroppers remained, as before, without any l e g a l  The d i f f e r e n t Tenancy and Rent Acts, and the subsequent  Abdullah, op.ait.  3  pp. 78-79.  The t r a n s f e r fee was set at 20% of the sale p r i c e of land, or f i v e times the rent.  73 amendments to these A c t s , were designed in the s p i r i t of a compromise between the zamindavs  and the other intermediate tenure-  holders on the one hand, and the vaiyats  on the other.  Thus,  d i f f e r e n t kinds of s e c u r i t i e s were extended to the vaiyats far  only so  as these were not contrary to the basic i n t e r e s t s of the landed  class.  It was not u n t i l 1932 that any serious proposal f o r the  a b o l i t i o n of the zamindavi  system was made.  This proposal came from  the Bengal P r o v i n c i a l Praja Samity (which l a t e r came to be known as the Kvishak  Pvaja Party).  Under the leadership of A.K. Fazlul Huq,  the Party pushed f o r a replacement of the Permanent Settlement by "a more equitable system and laws s u i t a b l e to the needs and requirements 19 of the people".  In 1938 the Government of Bengal appointed a Land  Revenue Commission to i n v e s t i g a t e the problems of land tenure as created by the operation of the Permanent Settlement.  The Commission  presented i t s report i n 1940 which has been popularly known as the Floud Commission Report a f t e r the name of the Chairman of,the Commission, S i r Francis Floud.  The Report recommended that the Permanent Settlement  be declared n u l l and void and,that the r e n t - r e c e i v i n g i n t e r e s t s of the zamindavs abolished.  as intermediaries between the raiyats  and the State be  The f o l l o w i n g reasons were shown f o r the recommendation.  Cited in Islam, op.ait. Annual Register  The source mentioned i s The Indian  (1938), V o l .  II,  p.  219.  74 1.  Loss of revenue:  It was argued that although prices of  many a g r i c u l t u r a l goods increased over the years, the government could not get an increased revenue due to the f i x i t y of revenue introduced through the Permanent Settlement.  However, the  raiyats  were not the ones to reap the benefits of low revenue-intake by the State.  The zamindars  raised the revenue payable by the  raiyats  from time to time without having to pass i t on to government. in e f f e c t , both the raiyat  Thus,  and the government were being weakened  through the operation of the Permanent Settlement.  2.  Administrative disadvantages:  According to the Floud  Commission Report, "the Permanent Settlement became synonymous with a p o l i c y of non-interference in the zamindari estates and in consequence Government o f f i c e r s were much less in touch with the tenantry ..."20 The administration was thus l e f t without any v i l l a g e maps, record of r i g h t s , knowledge of l o c a l conditions and customs; a l l of which created numerous problems.  3.  E f f e c t s of subinfeudation:  The Floud Commission Report  r e i t e r a t e d the f i n d i n g of the Simon Commission in .emphasizing the extent of subinfeudation in Bengal caused by the Permanent Settlement.  Government of Bengal, op.ait.  3  p. 33.  75 It maintained that the 50 or more grades of tenure-holders who were quite frequently found between the vaiyat  and the  zamindav  reduced the chance that any tenant-landlord r e l a t i o n s h i p might emerge which would be conducive to higher a g r i c u l t u r a l production. Noting the high degree of subinfeudation in d i f f e r e n t parts of Bengal and the d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p between the number of i n t e r mediaries and the burden of revenue experienced by the  vaiyats,  the Floud Commission reported, " I t i s not too much to say that the extent of subinfeudation has become an incubus on the working a g r i c u l t u r a l . p o p u l a t i o n , which f i n d s no j u s t i f i c a t i o n in the performance of any material service so f a r as a g r i c u l t u r a l improvements are concerned, and f a i l s to provide any e f f e c t i v e means f o r the development of the resources of land ..."21 The Commission also found that there was a substantial number of undev-vaiyati vaiyats)  holdings  (holdings created by leasing in land from the  during the l a t e 1930 s which lacked in incentives to improve 1  a g r i c u l t u r e due to imposition of high rents. Table 2 has some relevant information on the vaiyati vaiyati  Ibid.,  holdings which existed during 1938-40.  p.  37.  and undev-  76  Table 2.  Raiyati and Under-raiyati Holdings in the Area that i s Now Bangladesh, 1938-40  Under-raiyats  Raiyats  9,372,000  3,108,000  17,926,000  2,172,000  Number of Holdings Area Covered (acres)  Source:  4.  0.70  1.91  Average Size (acres)  Government of Pakistan, Economy of Pakistan, 1950, Karachi: O f f i c e of the Economic Advisor, M i n i s t r y of Economic A f f a i r s . (Quoted in Abdullah, op.cit., p. 70.)  Loss of occupancy r i g h t s :  The Floud Commission found that  the number of actual c u l t i v a t o r s who possessed occupancy r i g h t s declined over the years.  Between 1921 and 1931 households without  occupancy r i g h t s increased by 49%. comprised most of the under-raiyats.  These were the households who The rent that they were required  to pay was " e x c e s s i v e " in the opinion of the Report. raiyats  were c u l t i v a t i n g the land under the barga  Some under-  (sharecropping)  system whereby the a g r i c u l t u r a l produce was divided i n t o halves between the raiyats  and under-raiyats.  The increase in the number of  bargadars  (sharecroppers) was considered to be harmful f o r the s o c i e t y , which i s  77 evident in the following quote from the Report, "The rapid increase in the number of bargadars i s one of the major d i s q u i e t i n g features of the present times; and i t i s an i n d i c a t i o n of the extent to which the hereditary r a i y a t s are losing t h e i r status and being depressed to a lower standard of l i v i n g . " 2 2 Although the f i n a l recommendation of the Floud Commission to abolish the Permanent Settlement was made as e a r l y as 1940, nothing was done in t h i s regard f o r another decade.  It was only a f t e r the B r i t i s h  r u l e came to an end that a change was f i n a l l y made. The Bengal zemindars  under B r i t i s h r u l e were mostly Hindus.  This  was because the B r i t i s h a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , which was established by replacing the Muslim r u l e r s , sought the support of the Hindus at large for consolidating t h e i r p o l i t i c a l power in an atmosphere of general antagonism among the dethroned Muslims. The r e s u l t of t h i s a l l i a n c e was the economic and p o l i t i c a l domination by the Hindus over the 23 Muslims.  During the n a t i o n a l i s t movement in India the vast majority  of the Muslim population of Eastern Bengal supported the c a l l by the Muslim leaders f o r a separate State f o r the Muslim m i n o r i t i e s of India.  They saw in the creation of t h i s new S t a t e , Pakistan, a  chance to rid: themselves of economic and p o l i t i c a l domination by the Hindus.  The n a t i o n a l i s t movement in India culminated in 1947 i n the  Ibid.,  p.  See K.B.  Boston:  38. Sayeed, The P o l i t i c a l System of  Pakistan,  Houghton M i f f l i n Company, 1967, p. 10.  78 creation of two separate States, India and Pakistan, the former with a m a j o r i t y of Hindu population and the l a t t e r with a m a j o r i t y of Muslims.  The s i t u a t i o n obtaining in East Pakistan (formerly  East Bengal) immediately a f t e r the p a r t i t i o n of India was not, t h e r e f o r e , conducive to the continual operation of the Hindu Most of them found i t necessary to f l e e the country and  zamindars.  24 take refuge in India.  This created a s i t u a t i o n where i t was  r e l a t i v e l y easy f o r the Government of Pakistan to respond to the • public sentiment by abolishing the zamindari  system in East Pakistan.  This was done through the enactment of the East Pakistan State A c q u i s i t i o n and Tenancy Act of 1950 which contained the f o l l o w i n g main provisions V.  The government i s to acquire a l l r e n t - r e c e i v i n g i n t e r e s t s in land and the actual t i l l e r s of the s o i l are to become d i r e c t ' t e n a n t s ' under the government, thus gaining the status of .(proprietors).  maliks  Their r i g h t s in land would be  h e r i t a b l e and t r a n s f e r a b l e .  See R. Jahan, Pakistan:  London:  Failure  in National  Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1973, p. 18.  Integration,  For f u r t h e r discussion on these provisions see Government of East P a k i s t a n , Report  East Pakistan, pp. 3-4.  Dacca:  of the Land Revenue  Commission,  East Pakistan Government Press, 1969,  79 Subletting of land i s to become i l l e g a l in f u t u r e . However, c u l t i v a t i o n under a sharecropping arrangement i s not to be considered a form of s u b l e t t i n g . A c e i l i n g of 100 bighas 10 bighas  (33.3 acres) per f a m i l y , or  (3.3 acres) per member of the f a m i l y ,  whichever i s l a r g e r , i s to be put on the ownership of all  c u l t i v a b l e neej-jote  10 bighas land.  (owned land).  A maximum of  (3.3 acres) are to be allowed as homestead  Lands in excess of t h i s c e i l i n g are to be  acquired by the government.  This c e i l i n g i s to be  relaxable in special uses of land ( f o r example, in orchards and d a i r y farming). 'Excess'  land acquired through the imposition of the  above c e i l i n g i s to be d i s t r i b u t e d among those c u l t i v a t o r s who hold less than 3 acres of land. A graduated scale i s to be followed in paying compensation f o r the a c q u i s i t i o n of r e n t - r e c e i v i n g interests. net  The scale would range from 10 times the  annual income in cases of persons with net incomes  of Rs. 500 or less to 2 times the net annual income in case of persons with net incomes of Rs. 100,000 or more.  80 6.  Compensation f o r the a c q u i s i t i o n of excess lands would be paid at the rate of f i v e times the net annual p r o f i t from the land that i s acquired.  I f one uses the terminology of Krishna then the 1950 Act was d i r e c t e d , at l e a s t on paper, towards achieving some of the " l i b e r a t i v e " 26 and " d i s t r i b u t i v e " o b j e c t i v e s .  A l l measures which abolish i n t e r -  mediary r i g h t s , regulate tenancy, free labourers from feudal bonds, and formalize the r i g h t s and duties of the p a r t i e s in tenancy or labour contracts have been c l a s s i f i e d as " l i b e r a t i v e " by Krishna.. The d i s t r i b u t i v e measures are those which involve the imposition of some c e i l i n g on landholding, the conversion of tenants and landlords i n t o guaranteed owners, the a c q u i s i t i o n of ' s u r p l u s ' of the ' s u r p l u s '  land, and the t r a n s f e r  by g i f t or lease or sale to the landless and/or the  small holders, and the consolidation of fragmented holdings. The l i b e r a t i v e measures of the 1950 Act were successful to the extent that the c u l t i v a t o r s were freed from d i r e c t feudal bondage. However, the a b o l i t i o n of r e n t - r e c e i v i n g i n t e r e s t s of the  zamindavs  cannot by i t s e l f suggest that the c u l t i v a t o r s would be m a t e r i a l l y w e l l - o f f a f t e r the implementation of the measure.  As the provisions  of the Act show, there was no emphasis put on regulating tenancy or f o r m a l i z i n g the r i g h t s and duties of the p a r t i e s involved in tenancy  R. Krishna, 'land Reform and Development in South A s i a ' , in W. F r o e h l i c h ( e d . ) , Land Tenuve, I n d u s t v i a l i z a t i o n  Social  Stability,  and  Milwaukee: The Marquette U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1961.  81 or other labour c o n t r a c t s .  Thus, avenues were l e f t open to the  r e l a t i v e l y r i c h land owners to replace the abwabs ( i l l e g a l exactions) 27 of the zemindars. This i n e v i t a b l y reduced the element of actual l i b e r a t i o n brought about by the Act. The d i s t r i b u t i v e measures of the Act of 1950 were not implemented for  a long time.  During the f i r s t decade a f t e r the creation of  Pakistan, the country experienced severe p o l i t i c a l i n s t a b i l i t y .  The  p o l i t i c a l feud among r i v a l i n t e r e s t groups w i t h i n the r u l i n g Muslim League, which were e s s e n t i a l l y r i v a l landlord f a c t i o n s o r i g i n a t i n g from West Pakistan, was responsible f o r frequent changes i n the government.  Thus, during 1950-58, Pakistan had as many as seven 28  Prime M i n i s t e r s .  In the midst of such changing circumstances in the  p o l i t i c a l arena, the d i s t r i b u t i v e measures of the Act of 1950 remained l a r g e l y unimplemented.  A f t e r the coup of 1958, which brought General  Ayub Khan to power, the c e i l i n g provisions of the Act were revised. Many of the r i c h land owners were r e s t i v e under the prospect the provisions of the 1950 Act implemented.  of having  Ayub Khan found that i t  was necessary f o r his p o l i t i c a l survival to r a i s e the c e i l i n g to such 29 a l e v e l that only the very large land owners were affected by i t . Thus, in 1961, the amount of r e t a i n a b l e land owned by a family was raised from 100 to 375 bighas 27  28 29  (that i s , from 33.3 acres to 125 acres).  Many of these r i c h land owners were intermediate tenure holders under the zamindars who occupied the land l e f t by the zamindars in the wake of the p a r t i t i o n of India. See Mukherji, op.ait., p. 453. Sayeed, op.ait., Jahan, op.ait.  p. 92. p. 57.  82 Besides, options were created whereby the land owners could make g i f t s out of t h e i r land.  This allowed the r i c h land owners an  excellent opportunity of d i s t r i b u t i n g whatever land they had in excess of the c e i l i n g to t h e i r friends and r e l a t i v e s , and s t i l l remain in e f f e c t i v e control of the land. very l i t t l e ' s u r p l u s '  Under such circumstances,  land was made a v a i l a b l e f o r r e d i s t r i b u t i o n .  According to the figures supplied by the Commissioner of Land Reform, which were reported by Abdullah, the t o t a l amount of ' s u r p l u s ' was only 163,741 acres.  30  land  This constituted l e s s than 1% of the t o t a l  c u l t i v a b l e land of East Pakistan.  There were over 350,000 landless 31  households i n the province during the e a r l y 1960's.  I f the surplus  land was to be d i s t r i b u t e d equally among these households then the average s i z e of t h e i r holdings would become only .47 acre. s i t u a t i o n even more f r u s t r a t i n g , much of the ' s u r p l u s ' 32 particularly.suitable for cultivation.  J U  31  Abdullah, op.ait.,  land was not  p. 83.  This f i g u r e f o r Tandlessness has been c a l c u l a t e d from the percentage of landless holdings reported by the Government of East P a k i s t a n , Master  32  To make the  Survey  of Agriculture  Pakistan, S i x t h Round (1964-65), Dacca: Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1966, p. 17. Abdullah, op.ait.,  p. 83.  in East  East Pakistan  83 The salami  (price) that was to be paid by the r e c i p i e n t s of  land was f i x e d mainly with a view to r a i s i n g adequate compensation for the dispossessed.  The Land Revenue Commission of 1959 had  found that the s e t t i n g of the salami  at 50% of the market value of 33  the land was too high from the point of view of the r e c i p i e n t s . Even then the government went so f a r as to increase the p r i c e to the f u l l market value.  Thus, only the r e l a t i v e l y w e l l - o f f households  among the e l i g i b l e r e c i p i e n t s of the surplus land could benefit by the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n .  A l l of t h i s points out the inadequacy of the  r e d i s t r i b u t i v e measures adopted by the Ayub regime. There were no other attempts at land reform u n t i l a f t e r the eastern wing of Pakistan emerged as an independent n a t i o n , Bangladesh, through a n a t i o n a l i s t struggle in the year 1971. During the r u l e of Ayub, the c i v i l - m i l i t a r y bureaucracy which ran the country had very l i t t l e representation from East Pakistan 34 (roughly 30% in the higher c i v i l bureaucracy and 5% in the army). The Bengali c o u n t e r - e l i t e of East Pakistan t r i e d i n vain to gain a share of power i n ' t h e central decision-making apparatus of the country 35 through the e l e c t i o n s of 1959 and 1964.  Subsequently, in 1966 the  East Pakistan-based n a t i o n a l i s t party, the Awami League, launched a Government of East Pakistan, Report of the Land Revenue Commission, East Pakistan, Dacca: East Pakistan Government Press, 1969, pp. 45-46. R. Jahan, 'East Pakistan During the Decade of Ayub', in P.J. Bertocci ( e d . ) , Prelude  to Crisis:  Bengal and  Bengal.  Studies in 1970, East Lansing: Asian Studies Centre, Michigan State U n i v e r s i t y , August 1972, p. 22. Ibid.,  p.  22.  84 programme which strongly demanded p r o v i n c i a l autonomy.  Ayub took  resort to a p o l i c y of t o t a l suppression of the autonomy movement. This had the r e s u l t of f u r t h e r increasing the f e e l i n g of discontent among the people of East Pakistan who, through a mass movement under the leadership of the Awami League, toppled the Ayub regime.  General  Yahya Khan, the successor of Ayub, was found to pursue the p o l i c y of suppression with more b r u t a l i t y than ever..  When the Awami League  won a l a n d s l i d e v i c t o r y in the general e l e c t i o n s held i n December 1970, the Yahya regime responded with an attempt at an armed repression of the forces of autonomy.  This turned the movement f o r autonomy i n t o  a n a t i o n a l i s t struggle f o r the independence of East Pakistan which culminated in the b i r t h of Bangladesh in December 1971. A f t e r coming to power, the Awami League government made several pronouncements with regard to.changes to.be brought about in the land tenure system of the country which r a i s e d the expectations of the land-poor masses in the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector.  The F i r s t Five Year Plan  of Bangladesh, which was launched.in 1973, maintained the f o l l o w i n g : "Radical land reform measures w i l l have to be implemented because (land) d i s t r i b u t i o n and tenure systems are the fundamental f a c t o r s determining r u r a l employment and income d i s t r i b u t i o n i n a predominantly a g r i c u l t u r a l society."36  Government of Bangladesh, the First  Dacca:  Five  Planning Commission, 1973, p. 89.  Year Plan,  1973-78,  85 However, the actions of the government hardly matched t h e i r words.  Although the average s i z e of farm in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e  was only about 2.5 acres during the aftermath of the independence of the country, the F i r s t Five Year Plan r e i t e r a t e d i t s e a r l i e r decision to put the c e i l i n g on land ownership at 100  bighas  (33.3 acres) per family which was o r i g i n a l l y incorporated in the Bangladesh Land Holding ( L i m i t a t i o n ) Order 1972 (vide P r e s i d e n t i a l Order 98 of 1972).  It may be noted here that t h i s c e i l i n g was the  same as suggested by the Act of 1950.  According to the 1968 Master  Survey of A g r i c u l t u r e , less than 5% of the farmland was held by 37 farms which had some land i n excess of t h i s c e i l i n g .  Therefore, i t  i s easy to understand that the r e d i s t r i b u t i v e e f f e c t of t h i s c e i l i n g , if  implemented, would be rather l i m i t e d . However, the Bangladesh Land Holding ( L i m i t a t i o n ) Order of 1972  was d i f f e r e n t than the Act of 1950 in d e f i n i n g a f a m i l y .  The 1972  Order defined a family to include a "person and his w i f e , son,/ unmarried daughter, son's w i f e , son's son, and son's unmarried 38 daughter".  The 1950 A c t , however, had not included the married son  of a person l i v i n g separately in i t s d e f i n i t i o n of a f a m i l y . the  concept of family was broadened by the 1972 Order.  Thus,  This was done  to reduce the chances of t r a n s f e r of land among members of a family Government of Bangladesh, Master  Survey  of Agriculture  in  Bangladesh, Seventh Round, Second Phase (1967-68), Dacca: Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , (undated), p. 9. Mukherji, op.cit.,  p. 456.  86 aimed at avoiding the handover of the surplus land to the government. However, the government y i e l d e d to the pressures exerted on i t by the r e l a t i v e l y r i c h land owners to change the d e f i n i t i o n of a ' f a m i l y ' in t h e i r favour.  Thus, the f o l l o w i n g clause was added to the o r i g i n a l  definition: "Provided f u r t h e r that an adult and married son who has been l i v i n g in a separate mess independently of his parents continuously since f i v e years before the 16th day of December, 1971 (the Independence Day of Bangladesh), and his w i f e , son and unmarried daughter s h a l l be deemed to c o n s t i t u t e a separate family." 3 9  Subsequently, the d e f i n i t i o n of a ' f a m i l y ' was f u r t h e r revised by l i f t i n g the condition that a married son l i v i n g separately had to be l i v i n g independently f o r f i v e years to be considered outside the family of his f a t h e r .  Instead, i t was mentioned in the second  amendment that "the Revenue O f f i c e r would accept the son's claim to be the head of a separate family while his f a t h e r was a l i v e i f he found, on v e r i f i c a t i o n , that the son was an adult and married with independent means of l i v e l i h o o d since before the 20th February, 40 1972".  It i s to be noted that not only was the d e f i n i t i o n of a  ' f a m i l y ' made more amenable t o the evasion of the c e i l i n g , but the date f o r the a p p l i c a b i l i t y of the land c e i l i n g was also moved to the 20th February, 1972 from the i n i t i a l l y planned 16th December, 1971. The i n i t i a l plan of giving the c e i l i n g l e g i s l a t i o n a r e t r o s p e c t i v e  Cited in ibid., p. 457, and the source mentioned i s Gazette ( E x t r a o r d i n a r y ) , November 4, 1972. Mukherji, op.ait.,  p. 457.  Bangladesh  87 e f f e c t was designed to n u l l i f y the e f f e c t s of the nominal land t r a n s f e r s made during the interim period by a large number of persons who a n t i c i p a t e d a new and lower land c e i l i n g from the government than what was in existence before independence. The above discussion i n d i c a t e s that only a half-hearted attempt was made at changing the pattern of land ownership in Bangladesh by the Awami League government despite i t s many pronouncements favouring d r a s t i c changes.  The reason why the  Awami League regime was not interested in bringing about real i n s t i t u t i o n a l r e o r i e n t a t i o n s was that i t had a p o l i t i c a l i n t e r e s t in keeping the r e l a t i v e l y large land owners pleased.  Jahan reports  that over 75% of the Members of Parliament in 1973 had landholdings 41 of 6.5 acres or more, and over 50% of them had 15.5 acres or more. This i n d i c a t e s the considerable land-richness of the Members of Parliament when one notes the f a c t that average farm s i z e in the country was about 2.5 acres during the aftermath of independence.  The  Awami League leadership at the centre could not, t h e r e f o r e , be expected to make a move that would a l i e n a t e t h i s class of r e l a t i v e l y large land owners.  This l a r g e l y explains why the r a d i c a l i s m announced in the  Plan was not matched by a low land c e i l i n g l e g i s l a t i o n in the Parliament.  See R. Jahan, 'Members of Parliament in Bangladesh', Legislative  Studies  Quarterly,  Summer 1976,  p.  361.  88 The f a i l u r e of the Awami League Party to d e l i v e r an honest and e f f i c i e n t government, which could bring about the necessary changes to reduce interpersonal d i s p a r i t y , combat the g a l l o p i n g i n f l a t i o n , and restore law and order, resulted in widespread d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n among the Mukti. Bahini  (freedom f i g h t e r s )  leading 42  to a p o l a r i z a t i o n between them and the c e n t r i s t Awami Leaguers. As the p o l a r i z a t i o n became more acute, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Prime M i n i s t e r of Bangladesh and the leader of the Awami League Party, decided to abandon "the facade of parliamentary government 43 and resorted to a one-party d i c t a t o r s h i p and t o t a l i t a r i a n c o n t r o l " . On January 25, 1975, the C o n s t i t u t i o n was amended in favour of a p r e s i d e n t i a l form of government.  Through t h i s amendment, Sheikh  Mujibur Rahman was made the President of the country f o r f i v e years. Further, the President was empowered with authority to organize one " "National Party" and suspend the a c t i v i t i e s of a l l p o l i t i c a l groups 44 that refused to j o i n the "new" p a r t y " .  Thus came into existence the  Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (Bangladesh Peasants, and People's League, BKSL).  Workers  The t o t a l i t a r i a n control that Mujib  sought to exercise was to be f a c i l i t a t e d by strengthening the p o l i t i c a l See T. Maniruzzaman, 'Bangladesh i n 1975: The F a l l of the Mujib Regime and i t s A f t e r m a t h ' , Asian Survey, V o l . XVI, No. 2, February 1976, p. 119. Ibid.,  p.  119.  Ibid.,  p.  120.  89 submissive m i l i t i a - Jatiyo  - at the cost of the  Rakkhi Bdhini  expansion of the regular armed f o r c e s .  T h i s , coupled with the  d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n of the army regarding the influence of India over the Mujib government, sparked o f f a coup on August 15, 1975, in which Mujib was k i l l e d along with his e n t i r e f a m i l y . suppressing  After  a countercoup (of November 3, 1975) staged by the  pro-Mujib elements, Major-General Ziaur Rahman emerged as the new 45 leader of Bangladesh.  Ziaur Rahman's government, which started  off as a M a r t i a l Law government, has evolved i n t o a c i v i l i a n government through the general e l e c t i o n s of February 1979, i n which the newly formed party led by Ziaur Rahman (Bangladesh Party) gained a majority of seats in the Parliament.  National President  Ziaur Rahman (his i s a mixture of p r e s i d e n t i a l and parliamentary forms of government) has since been consolidating his p o l i t i c a l Zia  has, on several occasions, announced his  i n t e n t i o n to e f f e c t a g r i c u l t u r a l . r e f o r m s .  power.  government's  For example, t a l k i n g about  the redemption of his e l e c t i o n promises of bettering a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i v i t y and achieving d i s t r i b u t i v e j u s t i c e , he mentioned that these objectives w i l l be reached through a revolution which he defined in the f o l l o w i n g words: "Our r e v o l u t i o n w i l l be peaceful and come in democratic process through parliament ... Our r e v o l u t i o n means a d i s t r i b u t i o n system  Ibid.,  p.  125.  90 based on s o c i a l j u s t i c e ... It w i l l e s t a b l i s h p o l i t i c s of production and s o c i a l j u s t i c e . We s h a l l bring about a g r i c u l t u r a l reforms."46 Zia  has elsewhere expressed the opinion that the rural poor  would not be benefited to any appreciable extent by p o l i c i e s of a g r i c u l t u r a l development so long as they are not involved i n the planning and implementation of these p o l i c i e s , and that t h e i r involvement would be possible only in a s i t u a t i o n where the t r a d i t i o n a l l i n e s of authority are done away w i t h .  This i s evident  from his speech at the FAO Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, " . . . planning from the top has i n p r a c t i c e usually meant planning f o r the top. Poverty-focussed r u r a l development, on the other hand, emphasises increasing the l a r g e l y untapped productive capacity of the majority of the rural population. ... The present awareness that development should be p r i m a r i l y f o r the poor i s a welcome departure from the past, but i t i s incomplete in not recognizing that development planning and implementation should be i n c r e a s i n g l y by the poor themselves. I m p l i c i t in t h i s i s a necessary awareness and organization by the poor which could appear to represent a threat to the establishment ... Rural development involves or i s perceived to involve r e d i s t r i b u t i o n , or in less p o l i t e terms, the giving up of power and resources by those who now control them."47  Cited by S. Kamaluddin.  See S. Kamaluddin,  Revolution and C o n f u s i o n ' , Far Eastern  Vol.  'Bangladesh:  Economic  106, No. 44, November 2, 1979, p. 32.  Review,  Government of Bangladesh, 'Text of Z i a ' s Speech at FAO Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development', Bangladesh, V o l . I l l , No. 2, August 1979, pp. 4-5.  91 In s p i t e of the sentiments expressed in the above statement, nothing has so f a r been done t o change the land ownership p a t t e r n , although i t was admitted by the government that the lowering of the c e i l i n g to 100 bighas  (33.3 acres) by the Awami League government was 48  expected to a f f e c t only 3.2% of the net cropped area.  One wonders  whether the problems of s h i f t i n g "power and resources" from those who control them now to the impoverished class are unsurmountable w i t h i n the context of a " r e v o l u t i o n " to be c a r r i e d out through the workings of the Parliament.  In t h i s context, the observations of Haque are  worth n o t i n g , " D r a s t i c ^ and reforms would adversely a f f e c t a l l MPs, whatever t h e i r party a f f i l i a t i o n s , and Zia appears poised to give them time to think i t over. Z i a ' s "Revolution" at the moment seems to be another broader and more vigorous version of the "Grow More Food" program or "Green Revolution" of e a r l i e r governments, b e n e f i t i n g the large peasants more than the small farmers (or the landless who c o n s t i t u t e a substantial element of the population)."49 Under a succession of p o l i t i c a l regimes influenced by the i n t e r e s t s of r e l a t i v e l y large land owners, the conditions of land-poor households have worsened.  This can be evidenced by the f o l l o w i n g elaboration of  size-tenure structure i n Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e .  Ibid.,  p.  6.  A. Haque, 'Bangladesh 1979: Asian  Survey,  Cry f o r a Sovereign P a r l i a m e n t ' ,  V o l . XX, No. 2, February 1980,  p.  223.  92 Elaboration of Size-Tenure Structure in Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e 50  Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e i s characterized by the predominance of s m a l l - s i z e d farms.  The proportion of t o t a l farmland covered by  the smaller farms i s increasing with time.  A comparison of the  relevant data f o r 1960 and 1968, presented in Table 3, i s i n d i c a t i v e 51 of the trend. As Table 3 shows, the number of farms below 5 acres increased by about 5% between 1960 and 1968.  Farms in a l l reported s i z e -  categories above 5 acres, however, decreased in number during the same period.  Population growth and the operation of the law of  inheritance over the years were the primary reasons f o r the d e c l i n e in the s i z e of a large number of farms.  50  51  The size-tenure structure i s discussed in t h i s section at a national l e v e l . Although relevant disaggregated data are very sparse, some regional v a r i a t i o n s w i l l be considered in a subsequent section in t h i s Chapter. See pp. 112-135. The data are from Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Census of Agriculture, 1960, Vol.. I, Final Report - East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962; and Government of Bangladesh, Master Survey of Agriculture in Bangladesh, Seventh Round, Second Phase (1967-68), Dacca: Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , (undated). Both the surveys reported data on the nation as a whole. Although the samples studied f o r estimating the population f i g u r e s were d i s s i m i l a r , s i m i l a r i t i e s in d e f i n i t i o n s used and the random nature of the s e l e c t i o n of the samples make the two surveys comparable f o r our purpose.  Table 3  D i s t r i b u t i o n of Farms Under D i f f e r e n t Size-Categories and the Area Covered by Them i n Bangladesh, 1960 and 1968 Farm Area  Farms 1968  1960 Size-Category  Number of • Farms  Percentage of Farms  Number of Farms  Percentage of Farms  Area Covered (acres)  Less than 5 acres  4,784,900  77.94  5,697,000  82.95  9,264,734  1960 Percentage of Total Area  Area Covered (acres)  1968 Percentage of Total Area  42.64.  11,059,000  51.29 17.77  7.49 acres  698,450  11.38  632,000  9.20  4,192,948  19.30  3,831 ,000  7.5 - 12.49 acres  442,360  7.22  360,000  5.25  4,158,797  19.14  3,347,000  15.52  12.5 acres or more  213,770  3.48  179,000  2.60  4,109,348  18.92  3,325,000  15.42  6,139,480  100.00  6,868,000  100.00  21,725,827  100.00  21,562,000  100.00  5.0 -  Total: Note:  Farms include a l l land area under a farming household.  Sources: 1. 2.  Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Census of Agriculture, 1960, Vol. I , F i n a l Report - East P a k i s t a n , Part I , October 1962. Government of Bangladesh, Master Survey of Agriculture in Bangladesh, Seventh Round, Second Phase (1967-68), Dacca: Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , (undated).  94 Although small farms were the most common in Bangladesh 1960, 10.70% of a l l farms were 7.5 acres or more in s i z e . farms could be considered large in the context of  during  These  Bangladesh  a g r i c u l t u r e where the average farm s i z e stood at 3.5 acres in 1960. In 1968 about 8% of a l l farms were found to be in t h i s larger s i z e category, the average farm s i z e at that time being 3.1 acres.  The  area covered by these large farms continued to be substantial as can be seen i n Table 3. i n 1968.  They accounted f o r about 31% of t o t a l farmland  Farms below 5 acres in s i z e in 1968 constituted about 83%  of a l l farms, the area covered by them being only about 51% of t o t a l farmland.  This shows the i n e q u a l i t y of landholding.  Some area studies made in the seventies are a v a i l a b l e which o f f e r more up-to-date, i f p a r t i a l , information on the percentage of farms and farm area under d i f f e r e n t s i z e - c a t e g o r i e s .  Data reported i n  Table 4 are from one such area study. Table 4 indicates that the i n e q u a l i t y in landholding was quite considerable in both the d i s t r i c t s of Mymensingh and Rangpur.  The  i n e q u a l i t y was found to be more acute in Rangpur where 57% of farms were less than 2.5 acres i n . s i z e , the area covered by these farms being only 18.6% of t o t a l farm area.  Twelve per cent of the farms  in that d i s t r i c t were 7.5 acres or more, and the area covered by these r e l a t i v e l y large farms was 43.6% of t o t a l farm area.  D i s t r i b u t i o n of Farms Under D i f f e r e n t Size-Categories and the Area Covered by Them in Selected Regions of Bangladesh, 1974  Table 4.  Rangpur  Mymensingh Size-Category  Percentage of Total Farm Area  Percentage of Farms  Percentage of Total Farm Area  Percentage of Farms  Less than 1 acre  12  2.8  25  3.4  1  - 2.49 acres  30  13.7  32  15.2  2.5 - 4.99 acres  33  36.8  24  25.0  5.0 - 7.49 acres  21  36.4  7  12.8  7.5 - 9.99 acres  4  10.3  4  10.0  10.0 acres or more  -  8  33.6  Notes:  (i) (ii)  (iii)  Source:  -  Nature of data did not allow c a l c u l a t i o n of relevant information f o r a l l s i z e - c a t e g o r i e s reported in Table 3. The data cover 100 farms in each of the d i s t r i c t s of Mymensingh and Rangpur. The data, therefore, represent both absolute and percentage figures. The source of data f o r Table 4 covered one more d i s t r i c t , v i z . Dinajpur. However, there i s an error in the data reported f o r that d i s t r i c t which prevented i t s i n c l u s i o n in Table 4. The error i s detected by adding up the percentage figures f o r areas covered under a l l size-categories of farms, While the percentages should add up to 100, i t i s found that these add up to only 82.  M.A. J&bbar, An Investigation ductivity in Selected Areas  into the Effect of Farm Structure on Resource Proof Bangladesh. Unpublished Ph.D. D i s s e r t a t i o n ,  U n i v e r s i t y of Wales, 1976, pp. 76-78.  cn  96 The o v e r a l l s i t u a t i o n at the national l e v e l i s a v a i l a b l e from 52 the 1977 Land Occupancy Survey.  This survey does not provide  the kind of data that would help in comparing the relevant f i g u r e s for the s i z e - c a t e g o r i e s used in the previous two t a b l e s .  However,  the d e t a i l e d s i z e - d i s t r i b u t i o n of ownership units and the areas covered by them as reported i n the 1977 Land Occupancy Survey are presented in Table 5. The average s i z e of holding in 1977, according to the Land Occupancy Survey, was only 1.84 acres.  As Table 5 shows, more than  a quarter of the a v a i l a b l e farmland was owned by those who had more than 8 acres of l a n d , that i s , more than four times the average size.  And these farms constituted only 3.43% of a l l farms. One thing to be noted about Tables 3 to 5 i s that none of these  considered the landless households.  The i n e g a l i t a r i a n pattern of  landholding becomes even more pronounced i f one looks at the number of r u r a l households without land. l e v e l of landlessness  S a t i s f a c t o r y information on the  in Bangladesh was not a v a i l a b l e p r i o r to the  1977 Land Occupancy Survey.  Neither the 1960 Census of A g r i c u l t u r e  nor the 1968 Master Survey reports the number of landless  households.  However, according to the 1964 Master Survey of A g r i c u l t u r e , 3.6% of 53 households at that time were t o t a l l y landless. This f i g u r e f o r Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report of the 1977 Land Occupancy Survey of Rural Bangladesh, Dacca: Bangladesh  Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  Government of East Pakistan, Master Survey of Agriculture in East Pakistan, S i x t h Round (1964-65), Dacca: East Pakistan Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1966, p. 17.  Table 5.  D i s t r i b u t i o n of Land-Ownership Under Different Size-Categories and the Area Covered by Them in Bangladesh, 1977.  Size-Category (acres)  Number of Households  Percentage of A l l Households  Area Covered (acres)  Percentage of Total Area  1.00  5,621,303  53.35  1 ,800,165  9.30  1.01 -  2.00  1,946,450  18.47  2,792,855  14.43  2.01 -  3.00  1 ,055,543  10.02  2,551 ,605  13.18  3.01 -  4.00  624,412  5.93  2,153,332  11.13  4.01 -  5.00  389,454  3.70  1,741,880  9.00  5.01 -  6.00  247,534  2.35  1,334,433  6.90  6.01 -  7.00  169,817  1 ..61  1 ,102,116  5.96  7.01 -  8.00  120,339  1.14  899,196  4.65  8.01 -  9.00  82,365  0.78  696,996  3.60  9.01 - 10.00  49,589  0.47  476,443  2.46  10.01 - n .oo  39,931  0.38  415,482  2.15  11.01 - 12.00  34,086  0.32  392,750  2.03  12.01 - 13.00  18,408  0.17  228,625  1.18  13.01 - 14.00  26,356  0.25  351,372  1.82  14.01 - 15.00  15,711  0.15  230,535  1.19  95,790  0.91  2,183,991  11.29  10,537,088  100.00  19,351,776  100.00  .01  _  Over 15 Total Source:  Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report  of Rural  Bangladesh,  Dacca:  of the 1977 Land Oooupanoy  Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  Survey  98 landlessness seems to be unusually low when one considers the high man-land r a t i o in Bangladesh.  The extent of  'near-landlessness  1  was, according to the 1964 Master Survey of A g r i c u l t u r e , however, quite considerable:  28.6% of households had less than .25 acres of 54  l a n d , most of which would be required f o r homestead. for  Other f i g u r e s  landless f a m i l i e s are a v a i l a b l e from a survey conducted by the  Co-operative S t a t i s t i c s and Research Organization of the Government of East Pakistan.  The survey, conducted in 1966 and based on a  sample study of 12 v i l l a g e s in four d i f f e r e n t d i s t r i c t s , puts the 55 f i g u r e of landlessness at 6.97%. too  However, the sample base i s much  small in t h i s case to put much r e l i a n c e on the f i g u r e provided. The 1977 Land Occupancy Survey documents landlessness more  adequately f o r our purpose.  The relevant information i s summarized  in Table 6. Turning now to the question of access to or control of productive land, one can d i s t i n g u i s h the f o l l o w i n g main categories: ( i ) owner-farmers:  Those who own t h e i r farms and  use family labour and/or hired labour f o r c u l t i v a t i n g t h e i r farms, (ii)  owner-cum-tenants:  those who c u l t i v a t e some  owned land and some rented land mainly by family labour, The average area covered by homestead in r u r a l Bangladesh has been found to be .18 acre. Government.of East Pakistan, Agricultural Credit in East Pakistan, Dacca: The Registrar of Cooperative S o c i e t i e s , 1967, p. 13.  Landlessness in Rural Bangladesh, 1977  Table 6.  Percentage of A l l Persons  Number of Households  Percentage of A l l Households  Number of Persons  Households with no land  1,311,570  11.07  5,884,927  8.13  Households with only homestead land  2,574,163  21.72  12,818,545  19.03  Total of households having no or j u s t homestead land  3,885,733  32.79  18,703,472  27.10  Source:  Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report  Survey  of Rural  Bangladesh,  Dacca:  of the 1977 Land Oecupanoy  Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  100 (iii)  pure tenants jbargadars):  those who have no  land of t h e i r own and rent land to c u l t i v a t e mainly by family labour, (iv)  wage-labourers: for  those who o f f e r family labour  hire.  One should note that the fourth.category, although c o n s i s t i n g mainly of landless persons, i s not mutually exclusive from the other categories. the  Some land-owning farm f a m i l i e s do o f f e r some labour to  wage market. Information on the r e l a t i v e importance of the f i r s t three tenure  categories as found in each of the three surveys of 1960, 1968 and 1977 has been summarized i n Table 7. The data presented i n Table 7 show that owner-farmers have been, and s t i l l are, dominant i n numbers as well as i n the area held by them. Between 1960 and 1968 the number of owner-farmers increased by more than 5 percentage p o i n t s , whereas the number of owner-cum-tenants decreased by more than 1%. The number of pure tenant farms increased, but only by less than 2 percentage, points.  The explanation f o r these  changes may l i e in the f a c t that many of .the farms which were previously renting out land became smaller over the years due to subdivision among h e i r s , and were l e f t with l i t t l e land to rent out a f t e r employing family labour on t h e i r lands.  56  Data on the areas  It i s i n s t r u c t i v e to note here that average c u l t i v a t e d area per farm came down from 3.12 acres in 1960 to 2.86 acres in 1968. This was associated with an increase in the number of farms by 730,000 during t h i s period.  101 Table 7.  D i s t r i b u t i o n of Farms Among the Main Tenure-Categories and the Area Covered by Them i n Bangladesh, 1960, 1968 and 1977 Area  Farms Year and Tenure Category  Number o f Farms  Percentage of Farms  T o t a l Area (acres)  Percentage of Area  3,731,110  61.00  11 ,653,910  54.00  2,308,330  37.00  9,829,813  45.00  100,040  2.00  242,104  1.00  farms  6,139,480  100.00  21,725,827  100.00  Owner-farmers  4,567,180  66.48  12,592,790  58.40  Owner-cum-tenants  2,058,250  29.96  8,252,160  38.27  244,570  3.56  718,050  3.30  farms  6,870,000  100.00  21 ,563,000  100.00  Owner-farmers  5,005,800  61.17  10,164,900  53.95  Owner-cum-tenants  2,618,300  31.99  7,846,900  41.66  559,500  6.84  827,900  4.39  8,183,600  100.00  18,839,700  100.00  1960 Owner-farmers Owner-cum-tenants Pure tenants All 1968  Pure tenants All 1977  • Pure tenants All Note:  farms  The 1977 survey d i d not r e p o r t data on owner-farmers as such, but presented f i g u r e s f o r the f o l l o w i n g two groups: ( i ) o w n e r - c u l t i v a t o r s : those who c u l t i v a t e d t h e i r land w i t h f a m i l y labour o n l y , ( i i ) owner-managers: those who employed some wage-labour i n c u l t i v a t i n g t h e i r land. When we add up the f i g u r e s f o r the above two groups we end up w i t h the r e l e v a n t i n f o r m a t i o n f o r owner-farmers.  Sources:  1. Government of P a k i s t a n , Pakistan Census of Agriculture, I960, V o l . I, F i n a l Report - East P a k i s t a n , Part I, October 1962. 2. Government of Bangladesh, Master Survey of Agriculture in Bangladesh, Seventh Round, Second Phase (1967-68), Dacca: Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , (undated). 3. Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report of the 1977 Land Occupancy Survey of Rural Bangladesh, Dacca: Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  102 covered by d i f f e r e n t tenure-categories during 1960 and 1968 lend support to t h i s hypothesis.  When one compares the s i t u a t i o n in  1977 with that of 1968, one f i n d s , however, that the number of owner-farmers decreased over these years by more than 5%. The number of owner-cum-tenant and pure tenant farms increased by over 2% and 3% r e s p e c t i v e l y during the same period.  This i n d i c a t e s  that with the passage of time some of the owner-farmers started renting land t o s a t i s f y family needs.  Data on areas covered by the  tenure-categories during the relevant periods lend support to t h i s . The p i c t u r e of land-hunger that one gets from the discussion above i s f u r t h e r reinforced by the r a p i d l y increasing number of pure . 57 tenants. Data obtained from the 1977 Land Occupancy Survey can be used to produce the f o l l o w i n g information on the d i s t r i b u t i o n of rented land among land-owning and landless  households:  percentage of rented land under land-owning households  80.78  percentage of rented land under landless households  19.22.  Evidence that i n d i v i d u a l tenants found i t i n c r e a s i n g l y d i f f i c u l t to obtain land i n the rent market i s provided by M.G. S a t t a r , 'Family Case Study of an Owner-cum-Tenant Farmer', i n Government Of Bangladesh, Proceedings of the Bangladesh-FAO Workshop on the Problems of Small and Subsistence Farmers and A g r i c u l t u r a l  Labourers,  Dacca:  Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r a l Research C o u n t i l , 1974.  103 The households with no c u l t i v a b l e land obtained less than a f i f t h of the t o t a l area rented out although they c o n s t i t u t e d over 32% of r u r a l households.  Explanation f o r t h i s may l i e in the  f o l l o w i n g three main reasons: 1.  In making a rental c o n t r a c t , the supplier of l a n d , or the l a n d l o r d , i s l i k e l y to prefer the potential user of his land to supply his own work animals and farm implements.  Although we  have no data on t h i s , i t i s probably safe to argue that the l a n d l e s s , who are the poorest among the r u r a l c l a s s e s , have fewer of these assets than t h e i r land-owning 2.  neighbours.  The households without any land, when offered land f o r sharecropping, may develop too deep an attachment to the land, to be e a s i l y evicted by the landlord at l a t e r dates.  3.  The landlords want to create a l a r g e r c i r c l e of influence f o r a t t a i n i n g greater p o l i t i c a l power. They can earn the a l l e g i a n c e of the landless by simply giving them, employment as wage-labour on portions of t h e i r ( l a n d l o r d s ' ) land, whereas, to gain the favour of some of the households  owning  small amounts of land, they (the small land owners) have to be given land on rent.  104 The importance of the land-rent market in r u r a l Bangladesh  is  depicted in Table 8. Table 8 indicates that the area that was rented has increased over the years.  In Bangladesh most of the rented land i s taken in  under sharecropping contracts.  Thus, according to the 1960 Census,  88.98% of t o t a l rented land was reported to have been taken on under sharecropping contracts.  The rest was given out on a cash-rent  basis.  Neither the 1968 Master Survey nor the 1977 Land Occupancy Survey reports separate data f o r the sharecroppers and the cash-renters. 58 However, the survey conducted by Jabbar provides some recent data. According to t h i s survey, i n 1974, out of a l l farms renting i n land, 92.26% did so on a sharecropping basis.  The usual p r a c t i c e under  sharecropping i s to l e t the tenant keep h a l f of the produce from rented land and l e t the landlord have the other half as rent f o r his land.  The s i t u a t i o n in 1977 i s depicted in Table 9. Both in terms of percentage of households and percentage of area,  the 50-50 sharing of the produce between the tenant and the landlord i s the most common i n Bangladesh.  The r e s t of the contracts are mainly  based on terms whereby more than 50% of the produce i s demanded as rent. It has also been reported that over arid above the payments i n k i n d , i n some cases, payments were also required in cash as part of the rent. 59 Table 10 presents some of the d e t a i l s in t h i s regard. Jabbar,  op.ait.  Although i t i s common knowledge in Bangladesh that the landlords often demand extra labour from t h e i r tenants f o r numerous jobs unrelated to the c u l t i v a t i o n of the rented l a n d , lack of data prevented i t s i n c l u s i o n in the Table.  Table 8  Owner-Operated Area and Tenant-Operated Area in Rural Bangladesh, 1960 and 1977  1960  1977  17,779,567  14,531,100  Owner-operated area: Number of acres (covering a l l farmland of owner-farmers and the owned farmland of owner-cum-tenants)  82  Percentage of t o t a l farmland  77  Tenant-operated area: 3,946,260  Number of acres (covering a l l farmland of tenants and the rented farmland of owner-cum-tenants)  18  Percentage of t o t a l farmland  Notes:  4,308,600  23  ( i ) Owner-operated area includes a l l area of the owner-farmers and the area which i s owned by the owner-cum-tenants in t h e i r respective farms. (ii)  Tenant-operated area includes a l l area of the tenants and the area which i s rented by the owner-cum-tenants.  Sources: 1. Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Census of Agriculture, Report - East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962. 2. Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report of :  of Rural  Bangladesh,  Dacca:  I960, V o l . I,  the 1977 Land Occupancy  Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  Final Survey  106  Table 9.  Percentage of Tenant Households Paying Varying Amounts of Rent i n Kind and Areas Under Them in Bangladesh, 1977  Amount of Rent  Less than 50% of produce 50% of produce  1.26  1.54  93.27  90.42  5.47  8.04  100.00  100.00  More than 50% of produce  Total  Source:  Percentage of Area  Percentage of Households  Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report of the 1977 Land Occupancy  Bangladesh, Dacca: S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  Survey  of  Rural  Bangladesh Bureau of  107 Table 10.  Percentage of Tenant Households Making Additional Cash Payments Over and Above Rent-in-Kind in Bangladesh, 1977  Categories of Payers of Rent-in-Kind  Percentage of Households Paying A d d i t i o n a l Cash Over Payments in Kind  Less than 50% of produce 50% of produce Over 50% of produce  Total  Source:  .04  .04  8.26  10.43  .67  .90  8.97  11.37  Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report of the 1977 Land Occupancy  Bangladesh, Dacca: S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  Percentage of Area f o r which Additional Cash Payments Made  Survey  of  Rural  Bangladesh Bureau of  108 The prevalence of cash payment was widespread not so much among those contracts which required less than 50% of the produce as r e n t , but among the other two kinds of contracts shown i n Table 10 (more so among those paying 50% of produce as r e n t ) . Therefore, one cannot argue that the primary explanation f o r the cash payment i s that those who paid less than 50% of the produce as rent had to be charged something extra so that the e f f e c t i v e rent could be brought nearer to the standard 50% share. The r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of supplying the basic a g r i c u l t u r a l inputs in a sharecropping contract l i e s mainly with the tenant, which i s 60  evidenced by the data presented in Table 11. Duration of tenancy contracts i s another f a c t o r that has to be considered to throw more l i g h t on the nature of tenant-landlord relationship.  As Table 12 shows, there i s an i n d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p  between the duration of tenancy and the percentage of contracts. Over  h a l f the contracts were of a duration of e i t h e r 2 years or.up 61  to a year.  The landlords prefer shorter duration probably because  they fear that i f the rented lands are c u l t i v a t e d by the same tenants f o r a long time  then these tenants may u l t i m a t e l y s t a r t demanding  r i g h t s s i m i l a r to those enjoyed by owners. Although i t may be true that the landlords, in some cases, help t h e i r tenants to obtain permits to buy the inputs at f i x e d p r i c e s , the cost i s usually incurred by the tenants. One may note in t h i s regard that President Z i a has c a l l e d f o r a minimum tenure of 3 years f o r sharecropping contracts in Bangladesh.  109 Table 11.  Source of A g r i c u l t u r a l Inputs Applied on Rented Land in Bangladesh, 1977  Percentage Provided by Landlord  Inputs  Percentage Provided by Operator  Seed  .59  99.41  Ferti1izer  .36  99.64  Pesticide  .22  99.78  .03  99.47  Irrigation  Source:  facility  Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report of the  1977 Land Oooupanoy Survey  Bangladesh, Dacca: S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  of  Rural  Bangladesh Bureau of  110  Table 12.  Percentage of Tenancy Contracts Under Varying Durations of Tenancy and the Percentage of Total Area Covered by Them in Bangladesh, 1977  Percentage of Total Rented Area  Duration of Tenancy  Percentage of Contracts  Up to 1 year  30.85  21.89  2 years  24.48  25.98  3 years  15.52  18.41  5 years  5.55  6.07  Source:  Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report of the 1977 Land Occupancy,Survey  Bangladesh, Dacca: S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  of  Rural  Bangladesh Bureau of  The owner-cum-tenant farms i n Bangladesh are t y p i c a l l y small. The 1977 Land Occupancy Survey puts the average s i z e of owned land of the owner-cum-tenants at 1.67 acres.  The amount that they were  able to rent was also small — the average household renting only 1.33 acres.  More than 80% of the owner-cum-tenants rented less  than 2 acres of land.  in To summarize the discussion so f a r in t h i s section we may note the f o l l o w i n g f a c t s : 1.  There i s an overwhelming number of very small farms.  2.  At the same time, the area covered by a r e l a t i v e l y few large farms i s quite s i g n i f i c a n t .  3.  Families without any farmland of t h e i r own c o n s t i t u t e about a t h i r d of a l l r u r a l  4.  households.  Although owner c u l t i v a t i o n i s s t i l l the dominant form of c u l t i v a t i o n , tenancy i s gaining in importance.  5.  About 39% of a l l farm households rent in land; the percentage of farmland that i s rented amounts to 22.87% (these are 1977 f i g u r e s ) .  A majority of the  households who get land on rent are themselves  owners  of some land. 6.  Sharecropping i s by f a r the most dominant arrangement under which land i s rented.  The average s i z e of land  rented by a household i s very small.  The usual rent  i s 50% of t o t a l produce on rented land.  Additional  cash payments over and above rent i n kind are present i n about, a tenth of the contracts.  The prime  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r bearing input costs in most of the sharecropping contracts in Bangladesh l i e s with the tenant.  R e l a t i v e l y s h o r t - l i v e d tenure contracts have  been found to be more numerous.  112 So f a r , the discussion on the size-tenure structure in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e has not considered the regional within the country.  variations  We now turn to a discussion of the regional  v a r i a t i o n s , not only in the size-tenure s t r u c t u r e , but also in some other r e l a t e d variables which shape the nature of the tenure pattern and i t s domain of problems and prospects.  Regional V a r i a t i o n s in Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e  In the preceding chapter i t was maintained that there may e x i s t d i f f e r e n t ' a g r i c u l t u r a l systems' in d i f f e r e n t l o c a l i t i e s of the same country.  To i n v e s t i g a t e the nature of such systems w i t h i n Bangladesh  one has to look f o r regional v a r i a t i o n s in the variables which were CO  taken to define such a system.  Since data on a l l of these v a r i a b l e s  are not a v a i l a b l e f o r Bangladesh, an attempt w i l l be made in the following to demonstrate, with whatever data are a v a i l a b l e , that there are indeed d i f f e r e n t systems in the country which cannot r e a d i l y be i d e n t i f i e d by looking at a s i n g l e v a r i a b l e such as t e n u r i a l  arrangements.  By incorporating the concept of varying a g r i c u l t u r a l systems into the discussion on the size-tenure structure contained in the preceding s e c t i o n , one i s better able to appreciate the s p e c i f i c nature of the problem of size-tenure structure v i s - a - v i s a g r i c u l t u r a l development in d i f f e r e n t regional contexts.  See the discussion in Chapter II,  pp. 20-21.  113 Topographic and c l i m a t i c v a r i a t i o n s : Although the d e l t a i c p l a i n of Bangladesh has a r e l a t i v e l y broad degree of homogeneity i n topographic and c l i m a t i c c o n d i t i o n s , c l o s e r examination reveals s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s .  The land of  the country i s comprised of d i f f e r e n t kinds of s o i l as summarized 63 in Map 2.  Some of the more extensive s o i l s are s i l t s , sandy and  clayey loams, red s o i l s , h i l l s o i l s and h i l l wash, and swampy s o i l s . The s i l t s are mainly confined to the central region covering large parts of the d i s t r i c t s of T a n g a i l , Mymensingh, Dacca, C o m i l l a , Faridpur and Pabna.  Sandy loams are the most extensive s o i l in the  d i s t r i c t of Sylhet.  The northeastern d i s t r i c t s (Dinajpur, Rangpur,  Rajshahi and Bogra) also have large proportions of t h i s v a r i e t y of soil.  In the southwestern part of the country the dominant s o i l i s  clayey loam.  The southern-most d i s t r i c t s of Khulna and Patuakhali  have s i g n i f i c a n t proportions of swampy, s a l i n e and sandy s o i l s .  The  southeastern part of the country (the d i s t r i c t of Chittagong H i l l Tracts i n p a r t i c u l a r ) i s mainly comprised of h i l l s o i l s and h i l l wash. These s o i l s are based on sandstones, shales or c l a y s .  Parts of the  d i s t r i c t s of Dacca, T a n g a i l , Mymensingh, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Bogra and Rajshahi are composed o f red s o i l s . The d i f f e r e n t kinds of s o i l which make up the a g r i c u l t u r a l land of Bangladesh have d i f f e r e n t degrees of f e r t i l i t y . which these s o i l s can be worked also v a r i e s .  The ease with  The s i l t s are very  Information on the regional differences in s o i l composition has been obtained from Ahmed, op.oit., pp. 21-26.  114 Map 1.  Bangladesh:  Administrative Boundaries  INDIA  BAY  OF  BENGAL 0 i  International  _ .  .  .  .  Divisional District  i  4 0 i  8 0 i  i  M I L E S  boundary II  II  i  115 Map 2.  S o i l Composition of Bangladesh  116 f e r t i l e and can be worked e a s i l y .  The loams are intermediate in  q u a l i t y between s i l t s and c l a y s , the l a t t e r being a heavy s o i l which turns s t i c k y during the rainy season and hard during the dry season.  The red s o i l s , which have developed on the old  a l l u v i a , are of r e l a t i v e l y low f e r t i l i t y .  This kind of s o i l i s  very d i f f i c u l t f o r ploughing during the dry season since i t becomes extremely hard and porous. soils  is  g e n e r a l l y low.  The l e v e l of f e r t i l i t y of the h i l l y The swampy s o i l s are often covered by peat  due to the accumulation of organic matter on the surface. r a i s e the l e v e l of f e r t i l i t y of t h i s kind of s o i l .  This can  However, the  swampy s o i l often receives seasonal s i l t deposits which turns i t i n t o a s t i f f , black c l a y .  This can make the working of t h i s s o i l d i f f i c u l t .  The swampy s o i l s , which are often formed near coastal regions, may also s u f f e r from some degree of s a l i n i t y . There are also v a r i a t i o n s in r a i n f a l l and the water-holding capacity of the land among d i f f e r e n t regions of the country.  Although  the whole country benefits from the monsoonal r a i n f a l l during J u l y to September, the average annual r a i n f a l l i s not evenly d i s t r i b u t e d throughout.  It i s possible to d i v i d e the country i n t o three broad  categories of dry l a n d , moderately wet land and very wet land on the basis of the a v a i l a b i l i t y of surface water which depends upon the amount of r a i n f a l l . a n d the water-holding capacity of the land. regions have been shown in Map 3.  These three  The northeastern d i s t r i c t s of  Dinajpur, Bogra, Rajshahi, Pabna, Kushtia and Jessore c o n s t i t u t e the  Map 3.  Dry and Wet Regions of Bangladesh  Dry Region • •••I (average annual r a i n f a l l 60 inches) Moderately Wet Reqion (average annual r a i n f a l l 85 inches) Very Wet Region (average annual r a i n f a l l 150 inches)  118 dry region.  The average annual r a i n f a l l f o r the region i s about  64 60 inches. The moderately wet region i s comprised of the d i s t r i c t s of Rangpur, Mymensingh, Tangai1, Dacca, C o m i l l a , Faridpur, P a t u a k h a l i , B a r i s a l and Khulna.  The average annual r a i n f a l l in t h i s region i s  65 around 85 inches.  The very wet region of the country i s mainly  confined to the d i s t r i c t s of Sylhet, Noakhali, Chittagong and Chittagong H i l l Tracts. i s about 150 inches.  The average annual r a i n f a l l in t h i s region  Among these three d i s t r i c t s , Sylhet gets the  most r a i n f a l l (annual average of 175 inches).  The differences in  r a i n f a l l , coupled with topographic d i f f e r e n c e s , account f o r d i f f e r e n t 66 l e v e l s of flooding in d i f f e r e n t parts of the country.  Thus, in the  r e l a t i v e l y high dry region, flooding i s mainly shallow.  In the wet  regions, almost the whole of Sylhet and parts of Mymensingh and Dacca s u f f e r from deep f l o o d i n g . flooding.  Flooding i n the d i s t r i c t s of B a r i s a l and Khulna i s u s u a l l y  shallow but widespread. 64  Comilla and Faridpur are areas of moderate  Apart from r a i n water, t i d a l waves o c c a s i o n a l l y  This f i g u r e f o r the annual r a i n f a l l was c a l c u l a t e d from data provided by Government of Pakistan, Population Census of Pakistan,  .1961: District  Census Report,  Kushtia,  Karachi:  M i n i s t r y of Home A f f a i r s , (undated), p. 1-19; and Government of Bangladesh, S a t i s t i c a l Digest  Dacca:  Bangladesh  of Bangladesh,  No.  8,  Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1972, p. 6.  65 See Government of Bangladesh, S t a t i s t i c a l Digest  66  No. 8, Dacca:  of  Bangladesh,  Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1972, p. 6.  See B.L.C. Johnson, Bangladesh, Publishers, 1975, p. 28.  New York:  Harper and Row  119  cause temporary flooding in the southern parts of these d i s t r i c t s . The other area of mainly shallow f l o o d i n g i n the wet regions  is  the d i s t r i c t of Chittagong H i l l T r a c t s .  V a r i a t i o n s in cropping p a t t e r n : Differences in s o i l conditions and a v a i l a b i l i t y of water have r e s u l t e d i n d i f f e r e n t cropping patterns in various parts of the country. Bangladesh  C u l t i v a t i o n of r i c e , which i s by f a r the major crop of (78% of the cropped acreage i s devoted to r i c e ) and of  each of the d i s t r i c t s , involves d i f f e r e n t combinations of a number of r i c e crops in d i f f e r e n t regions (see Map 4 ) . ^  7  The northwestern  d i s t r i c t s of Dinajpur, Rajshahi and Bogra are found to devote most of the r i c e land to transplanted aman. The clayey s o i l s of these d i s t r i c t s have to be softened adequately by r a i n water before land preparation and sowing can be possible with the a v a i l a b l e technology; and the c u l t i v a t i o n ofaman allows t h i s .  Although the seed beds are  to be prepared e a r l y in the monsoon (March/April), t r a n s p l a n t a t i o n can wait t i l l June or J u l y .  The c u l t i v a t o r s f i n d i t possible to take  care of the seed beds with r e l a t i v e ease because of the smallness of the  plots involved.  Aman i s preferred against any other r a i n - f e d crop  during the period of the wet season in which the land becomes workable because i t i s good q u a l i t y r i c e with reasonably high y i e l d s .  The  Information on cropping pattern was a v a i l a b l e from Government of P a k i s t a n , Pakistan  Census of Agriculture,  I960, V o l .  I,  Final Report - East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962, pp. 162-244.  Map 4.  Rice Crop Regions of Bangladesh  111 [IH Mainly Transplanted Aman (about 85% of 11111 tl i acreage) 1+ + 1 Mainly Broadcast Aman (about 70% of ' ~*"^ r i c e acreage) j ^ ^ j Mainly Aus (about 70% of r i c e acreage) r  11/11 -— L  •  1  c  e  Mainly -4MS and Transplanted Aman (about 90% of r i c e acreage) Mainly Aus and Broadcast Aman (about 90% of r i c e acreage) Mainly Boro (about 90% of r i c e acreage)  121 southwestern region of the country i s also found to devote most of i t s r i c e land to the transplanted aman. Again, the reason i s t h a t , with given technology, the preparation of the land f o r c u l t i v a t i n g r a i n - f e d crops cannot be undertaken immediately a f t e r the onset of monsoonal r a i n .  The r a i n has to wash down the s a l t  on the surface of the land deep enough to allow the roots to develop in a s a l t - f r e e s o i l .  The moderately flooded s i l t s are best suited  to broadcast aman. Therefore, one can d i s t i n g u i s h a b e l t of land area s t a r t i n g from southwestern S y l h e t , bordering the d i s t r i c t s of Noakhali and C o m i l l a , covering parts of Dacca and most of Faridpur. and Pabna which i s characterized by the c u l t i v a t i o n of broadcast aman in most of the r i c e f i e l d s . higher loamy clay s o i l s .  The aus paddy t h r i v e s best on  The d i s t r i c t s of Jessore and parts of  Chittagong H i l l Tracts are i d e a l l y suited f o r t h i s crop.  The  c u l t i v a t i o n of aus requires that the f i e l d i s ready f o r broadcasting by A p r i l , which means that t h i s crop i s l i m i t e d to only those s o i l types which are l i g h t enough to be worked on with l i t t l e r a i n .  The  cropping period of aus allows some regions to c u l t i v a t e both aus and transplanted or broadcast aman depending upon the s o i l and water conditions of the regions.  Those areas which are found to devote  comparable portions of t o t a l r i c e acreage to two v a r i e t i e s can be seen in Map 4.  The bovo paddy i s the other dominant r i c e v a r i e t y  in Bangladesh which i s c u l t i v a t e d during the dry season.  Those areas  within the country which are heavily flooded during the rainy season  122 can o f f e r enough ground water f o r i r r i g a t i o n during the dry season for the c u l t i v a t i o n of boro.  Thus, Sylhet and parts of Noakhali  and Chittagong are the main boro producing d i s t r i c t s .  Boro  r e l a t i v e l y coarse when compared with the other r i c e crops.  is However,  the y i e l d i s the highest among the d i f f e r e n t r i c e crops (see Table 13). This has been so even before the i n t r o d u c t i o n of the high y i e l d i n g v a r i e t y of boro,  IR-8.  gone up even higher.  Since i t s i n t r o d u c t i o n , per acre y i e l d has The data presented in Table 13 on per acre  y i e l d s of d i f f e r e n t r i c e v a r i e t i e s p r i o r to the i n t r o d u c t i o n of  IR-8,  and a f t e r i t was introduced, w i l l provide evidence to t h i s e f f e c t .  Table 13.  Yields of D i f f e r e n t Rice Crops in Bangladesh in D i f f e r e n t Years  Y i e l d (maunds/acre)*  Period Under Consideration  Aman .  Boro  9.0  10.6  11.8  9.2  11.9  22.9  Aus  Pre  IR-8 5 y e a r s ' average covering 1955-56 to 1959-60  Post  IR-8 5 y e a r s average covering 1968-69 to 1972-73 1  Source:  Government of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Agriculture in Statistics, Dacca: M i n i s t r y of A g r i c u l t u r e , November, 1973.  * 1 maund = 82.29 l b s .  123 Although r i c e crop c u l t i v a t i o n i s the major occupation of the c u l t i v a t o r s i n Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , there are some important cash crops as w e l l .  The most important among these i s j u t e .  About 10% of the t o t a l cropped acreage i s devoted to j u t e . Abundant r a i n f a l l and s o i l s r i c h in s i l t s are e s s e n t i a l f o r the c u l t i v a t i o n of j u t e .  However, i f the plants are l e f t to grow in  submerged c o n d i t i o n s , then the q u a l i t y of j u t e d e t e r i o r a t e s . Therefore, areas of deep f l o o d i n g are not w e l l s u i t e d f o r t h i s crop.  The primary j u t e b e l t , which i s located around the centre  of the country i s shown on Map 5.  One may note here that the  cropping period of j u t e (February to June) overlaps with that of aus paddy, so that these two crops compete with each other f o r c u l t i v a b l e land.  Sugar cane i s the second important cash crop  which i s produced mainly in the d i s t r i c t s of Dinajpur, Rajshahi and Kushtia.  Other important crops include tea along the  southeastern border of Sylhet, tobacco in Rangpur, wheat and pulses i n the d i s t r i c t s of Rajshahi, Kushtia and Jessore.  Areas  w i t h i n which these d i f f e r e n t crops are important as subsidiary crops to r i c e have been shown in Map 5.  Map 5.  Regions of Some Important Crops Other than Rice in Bangladesh  124  125 V a r i a t i o n s in size-tenure s t r u c t u r e : The r e l a t i v e l y dry region of the country has t r a d i t i o n a l l y been found to have a lower population density than most other parts of the country.  The r e l a t i v e ease with which most of the wet land  could be c u l t i v a t e d resulted in dense habitation in those areas. However, some wet areas have not been easy to c u l t i v a t e ; f o r example some areas of longstanding deep flooding (for example, i n S y l h e t ) , areas with swampy and s a l i n e s o i l s ( f o r example, in Khulna), areas which are h i l l y and rugged (for example, in Chittagong H i l l T r a c t s ) . Therefore, even w i t h i n the wet regions, population settlements have not been equally dense everywhere.  Not only the ease with which the  land could be c u l t i v a t e d , but also the nature of crop that could be produced w i t h i n a region affected i t s population density.  During  the e a r l i e r days, when the products of the farm were almost e x c l u s i v e l y meant to s a t i s f y domestic consumption needs, the regions which could assure the c u l t i v a t o r s of a steady supply of food crops were most favoured f o r purposes of settlement.  Thus, Dacca d i v i s i o n  which i s the smallest of a l l the d i v i s i o n s , had the largest populati as e a r l y as 1901, one reason f o r which was the s u i t a b i l i t y of i t s climate and a g r i c u l t u r a l land f o r purposes of producing  various  68 foodcrops with r e l a t i v e ease.  Some other parts of the country  which are not c l i m a t i c a l l y or topographically as w e l l - s u i t e d f o r  See Government of P a k i s t a n , Census of Pakistan  Vol.  Population,  2, East Pakistan, Karachi, June 1964, p. 11-7.  1961,  126 a g r i c u l t u r a l operations have gradually a t t r a c t e d more and more people because of increasing l e v e l s of urbanization of those areas. The Chittagong d i v i s i o n had a.population i n 1901 which was smaller than that of the d i v i s i o n of Rajshahi (Chittagong d i v i s i o n  6.8  m i l l i o n , Rajshahi d i v i s i o n 7.5 m i l l i o n ) , although i t had a l a r g e r area (Chittagong d i v i s i o n 16,510 square m i l e s , Rajshahi  division  69 12,677 square m i l e s ) .  With increasing urbanization of some parts  of the Chittagong d i v i s i o n , i t s population in 1961 surpassed that of the d i v i s i o n of Rajshahi by about 2 m i l l i o n people (Chittagong d i v i s i o n 13.6 m i l l i o n , Rajshahi d i v i s i o n 11.8 mi 11 i o n ) . ^  This  increase in population was not due only to an increase in the number of people l i v i n g in urban areas. significantly.^  Rural population also increased  The opening up of newer areas of c u l t i v a t i o n by  creating better communication systems and by o f f e r i n g the c u l t i v a t o r s some opportunities of d i v e r s i f y i n g t h e i r source of income, the urbanization process was able to a l t e r the pattern of density of population in d i f f e r e n t r u r a l areas.  These d i f f e r e n t i a l  densities  of settlement have been r e f l e c t e d in the differences in the average sizes of farms in d i f f e r e n t parts of the country.  The average farm  s i z e cannot, however, provide one with an idea about the skew in the  6 9  7 0  ^  Tbid.  3  Ibid.,  pp. II-6, p.  11-11.  II-6.  For d e t a i l s see ibid.,  p. 11-20.  127 d i s t r i b u t i o n of land among the various farm households.  The nature  of t h i s skew i s l i k e l y to be an important f a c t o r in determining the pattern of land tenure w i t h i n a region.  It i s beyond the scope of  the present study to undertake a d e t a i l e d h i s t o r i c a l i n v e s t i g a t i o n into the causes of the various degrees of t h i s skew in d i f f e r e n t parts of the country.  Nevertheless, i t may be worthwhile to  remember here the e a r l i e r discussion in t h i s chapter on the process in which remnants of feudalism have perpetuated wide interpersonal d i s p a r i t i e s in land ownership, which could have attained d i f f e r e n t degrees in d i f f e r e n t parts of the.country. Table 14 presents some data on the d i s p a r i t y of land ownership among the r u r a l households of a number of d i s t r i c t s in Bangladesh.  Table 14.  District  Percentage D i s t r i b u t i o n of A g r i c u l t u r a l Households by Their Land-owning Status in a Number of D i s t r i c t s in Bangladesh, 1977 Percentage of Landless Households  Percentage of Households with More than 5 acres  Dinajpur  31.1  14.9  Rajshahi  30.0  13.3  Kushtia  36.6  13.3  Khulna  29.2  10.6  Tangail  27.3  8.3  Comi11 a  26.1  6.3  Sylhet  31.2  10.7  Noakhali  33.2  5.4  Source:  Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r a l Research C o u n c i l , Incidence Landlessness and Major Landholding and Cultivating Groups in Rural Bangladesh, Dacca: D i r e c t o r a t e of  A g r i c u l t u r e (Extension and Management), May 1978.  of  128 It can be seen in Table 14 that the d i s p a r i t y in land ownership i s most acute in the northwestern region of the country. It was mentioned above that sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n i s the most extensive tenure arrangement next to owner c u l t i v a t i o n . the  extent of sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n d i f f e r s among d i f f e r e n t parts  of the country. in  However,  Table 15 shows the percentage of farm area sharecropped  the d i f f e r e n t d i s t r i c t s of the country  (see page 130).  To i d e n t i f y the f a c t o r s which were s i g n i f i c a n t i n determining the l e v e l s of sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n in the d i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh, a m u l t i p l e regression was run with the incidence of sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n as the dependent v a r i a b l e and population density, average annual r a i n f a l l , farm area as percentage of t o t a l land area, average farm s i z e , percentage of farm area under large (12.5 acres or more) farms, and percentage of households w.ith small farms (below 2.5 acres) 72 as the independent v a r i a b l e s .  The regression r e s u l t s provided the  f o l l o w i n g information on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the dependent v a r i a b l e and those independent v a r i a b l e s which were significant  in  explaining v a r i a t i o n s in the incidence of sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n : S '=15.83168 - .13039 R + .59907 L (-3.26) R  2  (2.91)  = .53  Data used f o r t h i s regression analysis are put in the Appendix. See Table A l , pp. 268-270.  129 where,  S = percentage of farm area sharecropped, R = average annual r a i n f a l l , and L = percentage of farm area under large (12.5 acres or more) farms.  The c o e f f i c i e n t of c o r r e l a t i o n between S and R was - .50 and that between S and L was .45.  The c o e f f i c i e n t s of R and L were  found to be s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t from zero allowing f o r 1% and .5% errors r e s p e c t i v e l y .  Therefore, both R and L were s i g n i f i c a n t  i n determining S. Looking at the figures provided i n Table 15 i t i s possible to i d e n t i f y d i f f e r e n t regions w i t h i n Bangladesh which correspond to d i f f e r e n t degrees of sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n .  These regions are  i d e n t i f i e d in Map 6, and also in Chart 1.  A g r i c u l t u r a l Systems  The r e g i o n a l i z a t i o n of Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e which has been attempted above has been done separately f o r separate v a r i a b l e s  like  s o i l composition, a v a i l a b i l i t y of water, cropping pattern and tenure status.  It would be worthwhile to see, however, the nature of the  r e g i o n a l i z a t i o n which emerges when a l l of these v a r i a b l e s (and other r e l a t e d ones) are considered simultaneously.  This would give us an  approximation to the v a r i a t i o n s in a g r i c u l t u r a l systems w i t h i n the country.  With the help of the Guttman-Lingoe s M u l t i p l e Scalogram 1  130 Table 15.  Percentage of Farm Area Sharecropped in D i f f e r e n t D i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh, 1960  District  Percentage of Farm Area Sharecropped  Dinajpur  24.39  Rajshahi  24.81  Kushtia  21.18  Jessore  18.01  Pabna  19.18  Bogra  13.18  Rangpur  14.25  Barisal^  17.80  Khula  23.47  Dacca  12.53  Mymensingh Faridpur  2  14.75 15.53  Comilla  3.84  Chittagong H i l l Tracts  1.45  Sylhet  8.90  Noakhali  13.10  Chittagong  19.03  Includes the present d i s t r i c t s of B a r i s a l and Patuakhali. Includes the present d i s t r i c t s of Mymensingh and T a n g a i l . Source:  Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Census of Agriculture, I960, V o l . I, Final Report - East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962.  131 Map 6.  Incidence of Sharecropping C u l t i v a t i o n in the D i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh, 1960  Willi I  5-10% of Cropped Acreage  1 Below 5% of Cropped Acreage  132 Chart 1.  Degrees of Sharecropping C u l t i v a t i o n in the D i f f e r e n t D i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh, 1960  Incidence of Sharecropping Very High  Sharecropping  (above 20% of cropped acreage sharecropped)  District Khulna Rajshahi Dinajpur Kushtia  High Sharecropping (15-20% of cropped acreage sharecropped)  Barisal Pabna Jessore Chittagong Faridpur  Moderate Sharecropping (10-15% of cropped acreage sharecropped)  Bogra Noakhali Rangpur Mymensingh Dacca  Little  Sharecropping (5-10% of cropped acreage sharecropped)  Very Little  Sharecropping  (Less than 5% of cropped acreage sharecropped)  Sylhet  Comi11 a Chittagong H i l l Tracts  133 Analysis i t was possible to i d e n t i f y the d i s t r i c t s which could be grouped together on the basis of the values of 19 d i f f e r e n t 73 v a r i a b l e s in the d i s t r i c t s .  The variables were the percentage  of land covered by each of the nine d i f f e r e n t s o i l types (see Map 2 ) , average annual r a i n f a l l , population d e n s i t y , farm area as percentage of t o t a l land area, average farm s i z e , percentage of farm area covered by farms sized 12.5 acres or more, percentage of households with farms below 2.5 acres, percentage of cropped acreage devoted to r i c e , percentage of cropped acreage devoted to the important secondary crops ( j u t e , sugar cane, wheat, and p u l s e s ) , percentage of cropped acreage devoted to non-reported crops (that i s , other than r i c e , j u t e , sugar cane, wheat, or p u l s e s ) , and percentage of farm 74 area sharecropped.  The groupings of d i s t r i c t s suggested by t h i s  analysis are shown in Chart II.  It can be seen that none of these  groups correspond to any of the groups i d e n t i f i e d i n Chart I on the basis of the degrees of sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n i n the d i s t r i c t s . This goes to show that although two d i s t r i c t s w i t h i n the country may be quite s i m i l a r in terms of the pattern of land tenure, there may be considerable v a r i a t i o n s in terms of other important v a r i a b l e s . Any p o l i c y which attempts t o a l t e r the size-tenure structure for achieving s p e c i f i c goals of development in a country has to be s e n s i t i v e to the regional v a r i a t i o n s w i t h i n the country.  The above.  L. Guttman and J.C. Lingoes, The Guttman-Lingoes Nonmetrio Program Series, Ann Arbor: Mathesis Press, 1973. The relevant data have been put in the Appendix. See Table A l , pp. 268-270.  134  Chart 2.  . M u l t i p l e Scalogram Analysis f o r the Regionalization of Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e  .CHITTAGONG H I L L TRACTS  .COMILLA  •KUSHTIA, SYLHET|  I .BANGPUB .NOAKHALI  *DINAJPUR, JESSORE, BOGRA  BAJSHAHI.  |  !  DACCA, MY KENSINGH  +  | |  .PABNA  •FARIDPUR  .CHITTAGONG .KHULNA  j .BARISAL  Note: ' Represents l o c a t i o n of a s i n g l e d i s t r i c t . + Represents  l o c a t i o n of' two d i s t r i c t s .  * Represents  l o c a t i o n of three d i s t r i c t s .  135 exercise in r e g i o n a l i z i n g Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , although less than comprehensive in nature (which was i n e v i t a b l e given the lack of a v a i l a b i l i t y of necessary information), can be of use in formulating developmental p o l i c i e s which are s e n s i t i v e to the relevant l o c a l  characteristics.  75  One may note here that f o r a f u l l e r treatment of the r e g i o n a l i z a t i o n of Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , which would help m i c r o - l e v e l implementation of development p o l i c i e s , one would require more d e t a i l e d information on topographic and c l i m a t i c v a r i a b l e s as well as on f a c t o r s l i k e i r r i g a t i o n f a c i l i t i e s , communication systems, marketing s e r v i c e s , and rural-urban i n t e r a c t i o n s in trade, research and t r a i n i n g .  136  IV.  PROBLEMS OF SIZE-TENURE STRUCTURE IN BANGLADESH AGRICULTURE  It was noted i n Chapter II that the problem of a g r i c u l t u r a l development w i t h i n a region can be analysed in terms of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of four d i f f e r e n t c l u s t e r s of elements which define the a g r i c u l t u r a l system of that r e g i o n J  To r e c a p i t u l a t e , these  c l u s t e r s include the natural c u l t i v a t i n g environment,  resources  owned or c o n t r o l l e d by the c u l t i v a t o r , s o c i e t a l values and expectations, and linkages of the agrarian society to the outside market.  It was argued that the resource p o s i t i o n of the c u l t i v a t o r s  was of major importance i n i n f l u e n c i n g the other c l u s t e r s , both i n the short and the long run.  In what follows in t h i s chapter, an  attempt i s made to understand how the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the ownership and control of land resources (as r e f l e c t e d i n the size-tenure structure) among the a g r i c u l t u r a l households of Bangladesh a f f e c t s the performance of the primary sector in terms of equity i n the d i s t r i b u t i o n of income and e f f i c i e n c y in the process of production. In Bangladesh, where land has occupied a unique status as a resource c r i t i c a l to basic productive and subsistence a c t i v i t i e s , the major determinant of the d i s t r i b u t i o n of income-earning  See pp.  20-21.  137 opportunities has been the nature of the e x i s t i n g size-tenure structure.  The size-tenure structure has also affected the  productive e f f i c i e n c y of farms by i n f l u e n c i n g such f a c t o r s as the l e v e l of employment, nature of technology, and the i n t e n s i t y of input-use, a l l of which can be considered from the f o l l o w i n g two points of view: (i)  (ii)  the micro-static point of view dealing with the operation of i n d i v i d u a l households at a point in time, and the macro-dynamic point of view dealing with the operation of the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector as a whole over time.  The present chapter w i l l begin by r e l a t i n g the problem of unequal d i s t r i b u t i o n of income to size-tenure structure in Bangladesh agriculture.  This w i l l be followed by an analysis of the m i c r o - s t a t i c  as well as macro-dynamic e f f i c i e n c i e s of d i f f e r e n t tenure and s i z e groupings of farms, which create several problems f o r p o t e n t i a l in r a i s i n g the l e v e l of p r o d u c t i v i t y , increasing the marketable surplus, creating more employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s , and adopting newer technologies.  Problem of Unequal D i s t r i b u t i o n of Income  The extent of i n e q u a l i t y in the ownership of land among r u r a l households in Bangladesh has been noted in the previous chapter. To r e c a p i t u l a t e , the data presented in Table 5 (page 97 ) showed that in 1977 about 53% of the households, each with an ownership unit of  138 not more than one acre, covered only about 9% of the t o t a l land area under a l l households.  On the other hand, ownership units of  more than 10 acres, which were owned by only about 2% of the households, covered about 20% of the t o t a l land.  This i s the  picture of i n e q u a l i t y that one gets when the comparison i s l i m i t e d to land-owning households.  The f a c t that in 1977 about 1.3 m i l l i o n  households had no land at a l l adds to the s e v e r i t y of the i n e q u a l i t y (see Table 6, page 99 ).  A l s o , when one considers the f a c t that  about a t h i r d of a l l r u r a l households had no land a v a i l a b l e f o r c u l t i v a t i o n (some of them with j u s t the homestead l a n d ) , whereas about a f i f t h of the t o t a l farmland was owned by less than 2% of the households, one can better appreciate the problem of i n e q u a l i t y in 2 the d i s t r i b u t i o n of ownership of farmland. Although the p r a c t i c e of renting land has become widespread in Bangladesh ( i n 1977 as many as 38.83% of the households rented some l a n d ) , t h i s has not reduced to any appreciable extent the d i f f e r e n t i a l in income-earning opportunities between the r i c h and the poor land owners. The households which rented l a n d , according to the 1977 Land Occupancy Survey, managed only to end up with an average farm s i z e ( i n c l u d i n g owned and rented farmland) of 2.72 acres.  Although about a quarter of  a l l farmland was leased out, there were too many households looking f o r a portion of i t .  Therefore, the average farm s i z e of the r e c i p i e n t s  Calculated from f i g u r e s provided by Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report  Bangladesh,  of the 1977 Land Occupancy  Dacca:  Survey  of  Rural  Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977, t a b l e  II.  139 of rented land could not be raised to any appreciable degree. One a d d i t i o n a l point t o be noted here i s that only about 19% of a l l rental contracts were obtained by the households without any farmland of t h e i r own.  As reported in Table 9 (page 106), i n  about 99% of the rental contracts the rent to be paid to the landlord was f i x e d at 50% or more of the output obtained from the rented land.  In a d d i t i o n , rental contracts covering more than 11%  of the t o t a l rented land were found to require extra cash payments to the landlords over and above the 50% or higher rental rate i n terms of physical outputs.  A l l of these i n d i c a t e that the i n e q u a l i t y  in income-earning opportunity on farmland, as r e f l e c t e d in the pattern of ownership of farmland, was hardly a l t e r e d by the operations of the rental market. The problem posed by the i n e q u a l i t y of land ownership in rural Bangladesh i s compounded by the very l i m i t e d employment opportunities a v a i l a b l e outside a g r i c u l t u r e .  Only about 25% of the t o t a l  labour  force i s n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l , and a s i z a b l e part of t h i s percentage i s accounted f o r by the r e l a t i v e l y educated i n d i v i d u a l s who come mostly from l a n d - r i c h households.  Thus, the i n e q u a l i t y in land ownership  in r u r a l Bangladesh remains a p e r s i s t e n t obstacle i n the way of a broader d i s t r i b u t i o n of income o p p o r t u n i t i e s .  The possible reasons f o r the l a n d l o r d ' s preference to rent out land to the land-owning households rather than the landless have already been discussed in the preceding chapter. See p. 103. The numerous government and semi-government i n s t i t u t i o n s and business organizations in the urban sector of Bangladesh h i r e a considerable amount of r e l a t i v e l y s k i l l e d labour.  140 Land Tenure and A g r i c u l t u r a l P r o d u c t i v i t y  It has been shown e a r l i e r (see Table 7, page 101) that i n Bangladesh the two major tenure arrangements are owner c u l t i v a t i o n by family labour and c u l t i v a t i o n under sharecropping  arrangements.  One can discuss the r e l a t i v e productive e f f i c i e n c y of these arrangements e i t h e r in a m i c r o - s t a t i c context or in a macro-dynamic context.  In what follows i n t h i s section a m i c r o - s t a t i c analysis  i s f i r s t attempted.  Some t h e o r e t i c a l considerations are put forward,  which are analysed in the l i g h t of q u a n t i t a t i v e information.  The  m i c r o - s t a t i c analysis i s then followed by a macro-dynamic evaluation of the land tenure pattern i n Bangladesh.  M i c r o - s t a t i c analysis Theoretical Premise Conventional Theories: If productive e f f i c i e n c y i s measured by output per unit of land (which makes sense in a land-scarce s i t u a t i o n ) then t r a d i t i o n a l theory would lead one to believe that sharecropping tenancy (referred to as tenancy from now on) would be expected to r e s u l t i n lower productive e f f i c i e n c y than would be the case under owner c u l t i v a t i o n .  Alfred  Marshall made a s i g n i f i c a n t c o n t r i b u t i o n in extending t h i s  hypothesis.  A. M a r s h a l l , Principles Company, 1948.  of -Economies, New York:  The Macmillan  141 Considering the usual 50% share of the t o t a l output that a tenant pays to the landlord as r e n t , he observes: " . . . when the c u l t i v a t o r has to give to his landlord h a l f of his returns to each dose of c a p i t a l and labour that he applies to the land, i t w i l l not be to his i n t e r e s t to apply any doses the t o t a l return to which i s less than twice enough to reward him."6 The Marshallian argument i s thus that sharecropping arrangements are destined to r e s u l t in less output per u n i t of land than would be produced under owner c u l t i v a t i o n .  This argument has subsequently  been extended and supported by several other economists; l e t us bracket them together and r e f e r to them as School I J  The  Marshallian concept has not, however, gone unchallenged.  Cheung, f o r  example, has argued that the i n t e n s i t y of input-use under sharecropping arrangements can be expected to be the same as under owner c u l t i v a t i o n .  p.  644.  6  Ibid.,  7  These economists include Bardhan, B e l l , Srinivasan and Zusman. See P.K. Bardhan and T.N. S r i n i v a s a n , 'Crop-sharing Tenancy in A g r i c u l t u r e : A Theoretical and Empirical A n a l y s i s ' , American Economic Review, V o l . 61, No. 1, March 1971; and C. Bell and P. Zusman, 'A Bargaining Theoretic Approach t o Cropsharing C o n t r a c t s ' , American  September 1976.  Economic  Review,  V o l . 66, No.  4,  See S.N.S. Cheung, The Theory of Share Tenancy, Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press, 1969.  The  142  We s h a l l r e f e r to Cheung and to those who have supported his l i n e of reasoning as School  II.  9  Before one can judge the r e l a t i v e merits of the conclusions reached by these two d i f f e r e n t schools of thought o u t l i n e d above, i t i s important to look more c l o s e l y at the basic arguments being made by each one of them.  School I:  These are as f o l l o w s .  For the purpose of exposition one can w r i t e a  simple production function of a tenant farm in the f o l l o w i n g way:  Q = f(L,N) where,  (1)  Q = output, L = land, and N = labour.  Now consider a tenant farm-family which i s t r y i n g t o maximize i t s income.  If the opportunity cost of family,labour employed by the  tenant i s taken t o equal the going wage rate  then the net income  equation f o r . t h e tenant can be w r i t t e n as:  Y = Qp - wN - rQp  (2)  Apart from Cheung, Newberry and S t i g l i t z pursued an a n t i - M a r s h a l l i a n l i n e . See D.M.G. Newberry, 'The Choice of Rental Contract in Peasant A g r i c u l t u r e ' , i n L.G. Reynolds ( e d . ) , Agriculture in Development Theory, New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1975; and J . E . S t i g l i t z , 'Incentive and Risk Sharing in Sharecropping', Review  of Economic  Studies,  V o l . 41, No. 2, A p r i l  1974.  143 where,  Y = tenant's net income, p = p r i c e per unit of output, w = wage r a t e , and r =  proportional rent ( i n kind) to be paid to the landlord (0 < r < 1).  The tenant seeks to maximize Y subject to the production function given in equation (1).  Assuming a f i x e d supply of land to the tenant  in the short run, the condition to be s a t i s f i e d f o r maximization of income f o r the tenant requires that the p a r t i a l d e r i v a t i v e of the income equation, that i s , equation (2), with respect to N be set equal to zero.  3N  or  or  9  = 0  (Qp - wN - rQp) = 0  w = (1 - r) p  (3)  Equation (3) can be interpreted as f o l l o w s :  If 50% of the produce i s to be given away as rent to the landlord (that i s , when r =1/2)  then the tenant applies labour to the rented  144 land up to the point where value of the marginal product of labour i s twice the wage r a t e . Under owner c u l t i v a t i o n the income equation takes the f o l l o w i n g form:  Y  = Q^p - N w  1  n  (4)  The condition to be s a t i s f i e d f o r maximization of income here i s ,  8Y  o r  1  w  ,  . a  1 S  '  =  wage _ rate  p  ( 5 )  value of the marginal product of labour  Therefore, under owner c u l t i v a t i o n , labour i s p r o f i t a b l y applied up to the point where marginal product of labour i s j u s t equal to the wage r a t e .  Comparing equation (5) with equation (3) one f i n d s that  labour input i s less i n t e n s i v e l y applied on tenant c u l t i v a t e d land than on owner c u l t i v a t e d land. The Marshallians use s i m i l a r arguments to show that u t i l i z a t i o n of a l l other inputs per unit of sharecropped land would be less intensive when compared with the corresponding figures f o r owner  145 c u l t i v a t e d land.  The r e s u l t , they suggest, would be a lower  productive e f f i c i e n c y under a tenancy arrangement. Some authors who accepted the basic argument of the Marshallian school (that sharecropping r e s u l t s in r e l a t i v e l y lower l e v e l s of productive e f f i c i e n c y when compared to owner c u l t i v a t i o n ) , have suggested that i f the v a r i a b l e costs of production were shared between landlord and tenant i n the same proportion as output i s shared  then the 'Marshallian d i s i n c e n t i v e ' of tenant c u l t i v a t i o n  would disappear, and tenancy would r e s u l t in productive e f f i c i e n c y comparable to that under owner c u l t i v a t i o n . ^  The argument can be  11 aided with the help of a diagram. In Figure 3, PQ represents the marginal value product (MVP^) of a tenant farm.  The input in question i s measured along the X-axis.  Prices of the product and the input are taken to be constant and exogenously given.  The marginal f a c t o r cost (MFC) incurred i n using  the input i s given by AB, which i s p a r a l l e l to the X - a x i s .  OA i s  the unit p r i c e of the f a c t o r and since t h i s p r i c e remains the same all  along, the MFC curve stays p a r a l l e l to the X-axis.  See, f o r example, E.O. Heady, Economics of Agricultural Production and Resource Use, Englewood C l i f f s : P r e n t i c e - H a l l Inc., 1952. * We have t r i e d to;elaborate upon the analysis done by Adams and Rask. See D.W. Adams and N. Rask, 'Economics of Cost-Share Leases in Less Developed C o u n t r i e s ' , American Journal of A g r i c u l t u r a l Economics,  V o l . 50, No.4,  November  1968.  146  Figure 3 .  Tenant C u l t i v a t i o n , Cost-Sharing and Productive E f f i c i e n c y  Under owner c u l t i v a t i o n , production w i l l take place at a level where an amount of the variable input i s used j u s t s u f f i c i e n t to equalize the marginal value product and the marginal f i x e d cost. In Figure 3 , OR i s the level of variable input-use at which both marginal value product and marginal f a c t o r cost are equal to OA.  147 Now consider the operation of a tenant who does not share any of the cost of production with his land-owning partner. Following Adams and Rask, leasing of land without cost-sharing 12 can be c a l l e d " t r a d i t i o n a l l e a s e " .  If the tenant has to pay  a 50% share of the t o t a l output from sharecropped land as rent, then his marginal value product (MVP^) would be represented by NQ where N would be the mid-point on OP.  Under t r a d i t i o n a l lease, the  marginal f a c t o r cost facing the tenant farms would be AB.  Therefore,  the l e v e l of v a r i a b l e input-use would be given ,by OS, where both marginal value product and marginal f a c t o r cost would be equal to OA. The level of v a r i a b l e input-use in t h i s case would, thus, be lower than the l e v e l attained under owner c u l t i v a t i o n by an amount equal to SR. What i f the cost of the input i s shared between the landlord and the tenant in the same proportion as the output i s shared ( t h i s 13 has been c a l l e d the " i d e a l l e a s e " by Adams and Rask)?  In Figure 3,  CD, which i s equidistant from OQ and AB, represents the marginal f a c t o r cost facing the tenant under ideal lease who pays f o r only half of the v a r i a b l e input in use and gets h a l f of the produce as his share.  Under such circumstances the v a r i a b l e input w i l l be used at  the l e v e l OR (since the t e n a n t ' s marginal value product curve and his 2  Ibid.,  p.  935.  3  ibid.j  p.  935.  148 marginal f i x e d cost curve i n t e r s e c t at H, which by the very assumptions underlying the drawing of the c u r v e s , w i l l l i e on FR). Therefore, i f ideal lease could be adopted, then the a p p l i c a t i o n of v a r i a b l e inputs could be c a r r i e d to the point where the ownerc u l t i v a t o r would set his use of those inputs. The t o t a l net return (to the tenant and landlord combined) under t r a d i t i o n a l and ideal leases would be:  Net return under . t r a d i t i o n a l lease  =  ,  (  t  t )  _  ( t o t a l  c o s t )  OPTS - OAES APTE  Net return under ideal lease  L  J  . 4.x ["cost incurred"] ( t o t a l output) - 5 y t e n a n t  Tcost i n c u r r e d ! |_ by l a n d l o r d J OPFR - OCHR - CAFH OPFR - OAFR APF  APF i s . c l e a r l y greater than APTE. to  That i s , t o t a l net return  both the landlord and the tenant i s higher when ideal lease i s  adopted as compared to the r e s u l t s obtained under t r a d i t i o n a l lease. This i s so because the marginal costs faced by the tenant and the  149 owner-cultivator are equal under an ideal lease so that the l e v e l s of input-use and p r o d u c t i v i t y of the tenant reach l e v e l s equivalent to those of the owner-cultivator.  School  II:  Assume the same simple production function of a  tenant farm given in equation (1), Q = f ( L , N ) ; with Q, L and N representing output, land, and labour r e s p e c t i v e l y .  L i s now  considered to be a v a r i a b l e , the value of which i s given by,  L  where,  (6)  H/M  H = t o t a l landholding of a l l tenant farms, and M = number of tenant farms.  If the value of H i s given, as would be the case in the short run, L i s determined by the value of M.  It i s postulated that the  number of farms can become a v a r i a b l e even in the short run since each landlord i s capable of deciding upon the number of tenant farms he would c r e a t e , thereby i n f l u e n c i n g the value of M. Value of t o t a l rent earned by a l l landlords, R, i s given by,  R = MrQp  (7)  (as before, r and p stand f o r proportional rend-in-kind and p r i c e per unit of output r e s p e c t i v e l y ) .  150 The f o l l o w i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p would hold true under competitive assumptions:  wN = (1 - r)  Qp  (8)  It i s assumed that i n making the sharecropping contract the landlord has the f i n a l say about the values of r and N.  The l a n d l o r d ,  t h e r e f o r e , i s seeking to maximize R through the choice of M, r, and N, subject to equation (8).  To f i n d out the conditions f o r t h i s  maximization one can construct the f o l l o w i n g Lagrangean,  Z = MrQp -  |wN - (1 - r) Qpj  A  (9)  Taking p a r t i a l d e r i v a t i v e s of the expression Z with respect to M, r, N, and x, and s e t t i n g them a l l equal to zero ( f o r obtaining the necessary conditions f o r maximization) one gets the f o l l o w i n g :  -§T=  -|^- =  rQp + rMp  MQp -  A  „ _jj|_ r p  -fg-+  A  (1-r) ^ = 0  Qp = 0  _,  w  + x(1  (10)  (11)  _.  r)  .^-o  (12)  151  _|L  JwN - (1-r) Qp]  -  =  Noting that L = H/  M  so that  =0  8L  _  (13)  H  ,  and that x = M  (from equation 11), i t i s possible to s i m p l i f y equation (10) in the f o l l o w i n g manner:  -4"]  -  <^>[-|f  ^-]p-0  or,  or,  rQp =  or,  rQp_ L  That i s ,  =  pL  _dQ_  ( ) 1 4  8L  value of t o t a l rent from a tenant farm t o t a l land area of the farm  =  value of the marginal product of land,  or t h a t , value of rent per unit of land equals the value of the marginal product of land.  152 Again, noting that A =  M, one can s i m p l i f y equation (12)  to get,  p-io r  '  value of the marginal production of tenant labour  <> i5  =  . wage r a t e .  Going back to the condition f o r maximization of income by an o w n e r - c u l t i v a t o r , which was given i n equation (5), i t i s found that the condition there i s the same as the one established in equation (15) f o r maximization of income under tenant farming. Therefore, as Cheung and his followers maintain, the i n t e n s i t y of input-use under sharecropping would be the same as under owner cultivation.  An Evaluation of Conventional Theories: One can best appreciate the merit of the Marshallian argument in a s i t u a t i o n where the tenants are above the marginal l e v e l of subsistence.  In such circumstances arguments of poor i n c e n t i v e on  the part of the tenant may be v a l i d .  However, the Marshallian  argument (of r e l a t i v e i n e f f i c i e n c y of sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n as compared to owner c u l t i v a t i o n ) may not n e c e s s a r i l y hold true in s i t u a t i o n s of high population density where the pressure on land r e s u l t s in very small owner c u l t i v a t e d farms as well as very small  153 sharecropped u n i t s .  These sharecroppers, who are faced with very  few a l t e r n a t i v e employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s , have to put a l l t h e i r e f f o r t s i n t o the c u l t i v a t i o n of sharecropped land to meet basic family needs from t h e i r share of the t o t a l produce.  It may be  true that impoverished tenants w i l l not be in a p o s i t i o n to invest much c a p i t a l i n the various stages of a g r i c u l t u r a l production, but they w i l l have to use a v a i l a b l e family labour as i n t e n s i v e l y as possible i f basic needs are to.be met.  In other words, the existence  of subsistence requirements which p e r s i s t i r r e s p e c t i v e of productiono r g a n i z a t i o n , coupled with very low opportunity cost of labour, may cause c u l t i v a t i o n under sharecropping tenancy to be as l a b o u r - i n t e n s i v e 14 as under owner c u l t i v a t i o n .  Insofar as i t i s true that small owner-  c u l t i v a t o r s , l i k e small tenants., are handicapped by a shortage of resources t o . i n v e s t i n land improvement projects or in q u a l i t y inputs, i t i s conceivable that the productive e f f i c i e n c i e s (measured in terms of output per unit of land) of the owner-cultivators and tenants w i l l show l i t t l e d i f f e r e n c e . The argument of some Marshallian scholars that t o t a l net returns to both landlord and tenant could be increased i f an i d e a l , instead of a t r a d i t i o n a l , lease were adopted does not n e c e s s a r i l y hold true under 15 a l l circumstances. An exploration of the conditions under which both That t h i s i s so in Bangladesh has been the observation of Hossain. See Hossain (1977) op.dit., p. 313. Note here that the t r a d i t i o n a l lease has been defined as a 50-50 sharing of output between the landlord and the tenant without any c o s t - s h a r i n g , and the ideal lease as 50-50 sharing of both costs and output.  154 p a r t i e s can gain by a s h i f t from t r a d i t i o n a l to ideal lease i s i n order. If  'economic r e n t ' f o r the tenant i s defined as an output or  payment in excess of the minimum supply p r i c e needed to keep the use of the input at the given l e v e l then, by Figure 3 (page 146) economic rent f o r the tenant under t r a d i t i o n a l lease  A I N t  economic rent f o r the tenant •_ „ under ideal lease  '  , a n a  N H  Since CNH i s greater than ANE, the tenant w i l l benefit from the s h i f t from t r a d i t i o n a l to ideal lease. In order to f i n d out how the landlord i s affected by the s h i f t from t r a d i t i o n a l to ideal lease, one has to estimate both the cost that would be incurred by him in the process and the amount by which his share of the proceeds would increase.  If the l a t t e r i s greater  in value than the former, he would benefit more by c o s t - s h a r i n g , otherwise not. Going back to Figure 3, the landlord has to bear a t o t a l equal to CAFH i f he makes a contract f o r ideal lease.  cost  Out of CAFH,  the area CAEG i s equivalent to an income t r a n s f e r from the landlord to the tenant.  The explanation i s as f o l l o w s .  The s h i f t from  t r a d i t i o n a l to ideal lease creates the a d d i t i o n a l output STFR. extra cost f o r producing t h i s a d d i t i o n a l output i s SEFR.  The  Ideal  lease requires that out of t h i s extra cost the landlord bears an amount given by GEFH.  Under t r a d i t i o n a l lease the tenant was already  prepared to produce OPTS.  Therefore, at that time the tenant was  i n c u r r i n g a cost of OAES.  By bearing a cost amounting to CAFH the  155 landlord in an ideal lease i s , i n e f f e c t , t r a n s f e r r i n g CAEG amount of his income t o the tenant. The a d d i t i o n a l output that the landlord receives due to changing over to ideal lease from the t r a d i t i o n a l kind i s given by the f o l l o w i n g :  increase i n output due to adoption of ideal lease  a d d i t i o n a l output going t o landlord due to s h i f t from = t r a d i t i o n a l to ideal lease  amount taken by tenant from additional output  = STFR - SEHR = ETFH  If the area ETFH i s not greater than CAFH then the landlord would not be interested i n t r a n s f e r r i n g from t r a d i t i o n a l to ideal lease. In other words, the condition f o r i n v o l v i n g the landlord i n ideal lease i s (ETFH > CAFH). The area ETFH i s given by  .£(1/2 OA.SR) + (1/2  the area CAFH equals (OS.CA + CA.SR).  CA.SR)j  , and  By s i m p l i f y i n g these  expressions f o r the two d i f f e r e n t areas one can w r i t e the condition (ETFH > CAFH) as (SR>2 0S).  That i s ,  Condition necessary f o r landlord t o benefit from ideal lease  :  SR>2 OS  156 What the above condition means i s the f o l l o w i n g ,  Change i n the l e v e l of input-use due to t r a n s f e r from t r a d i t i o n a l to ideal lease has to be greater than twice the l e v e l of input-use under t r a d i t i o n a l lease.  Figure 4 t r i e s to show that t h i s condition i s more l i k e l y to be s a t i s f i e d by r e l a t i v e l y f l a t marginal value product curves.  In  t h i s f i g u r e , when PQ represents the marginal value product curve f o r the farm, the condition t o be s a t i s f i e d f o r i n v o l v i n g the landlord in cost-sharing i s (SR>2 OS). in Figure 4.  This has not been f u l f i l l e d  When the marginal value product curve i s represented  in the same f i g u r e by the r e l a t i v e l y f l a t l i n e P Q, the condition n  takes the form (S-|R.j>2 OS^). satisfied.  Even here the condition i s not quite  But when the marginal value product curve becomes as  f l a t as P^Q the condition f o r l a n d l o r d ' s p a r t i c i p a t i o n in ideal lease gets f u l f i l l e d .  In other words, we get ^ R , , > 2  OS^).  The question now i s — w h e n would we encounter r e l a t i v e l y f l a t marginal value product curves so that the landlords may gain from a switch from t r a d i t i o n a l to ideal lease?  This would occur when a  p a r t i c u l a r l e v e l of input-use i s associated with a r e l a t i v e l y low marginal value product.  Given an exogenously determined p r i c e l e v e l  f o r the output, t h i s would mean that the chances of gain f o r the landlord i n making the switch would be greater i n those cases where the marginal product does not vary so appreciably with changes in the l e v e l of inputs-use.  157  Figure 4.  Marginal Value Product in Tenant C u l t i v a t i o n and the Landlord's P a r t i c i p a t i o n in an Ideal Lease  The arguments extended by the a n t i - M a r s h a l l i a n school on the other hand are based on assumptions which may not hold true in many cases.  One of the basic assumptions made by the scholars  associated  with t h i s school i s that under any sharecropping contract the amount of labour applied by the tenant on rented land i s determined by the landlord.  This would require that the t e n a n t ' s operations are  158 s t r i c t l y supervised by the l a n d l o r d , which may not be the usual p r a c t i c e in p a r t i c u l a r instances. the  One cannot deny the f a c t that  landlord may influence the amount of labour applied per unit  of the rented land by specifying the crops to be sown, seed v a r i e t i e s to be s e l e c t e d , and agro-chemicals to be used.  However,  even in cases where such s p e c i f i c a t i o n s are found to be a part of the  rental c o n t r a c t , i t would be u n r e a l i s t i c to assume that the  l a n d l o r d , through the very act of making these s p e c i f i c a t i o n s , controls the amount of labour applied on rented land since each of these conditions imposed on the tenant can be f u l f i l l e d with the a p p l i c a t i o n of varying l e v e l s of labour input.  Besides, the  f i n a n c i a l status of the p o t e n t i a l tenant in many cases may not be such that conditions which imply higher c a p i t a l investments by the tenant ( f o r example, the use of more agro-chemicals to augment the  amount of labour used per unit of land) would be p r a c t i c a b l e . The a n t i - M a r s h a l l i a n analysis rests also on the contention that  r, the proportional r e n t , i s determined exclusively  by the l a n d l o r d .  This assumption can be accepted in those circumstances where the landlord has monopolistic control over the land-rent market. 1  However,  there may be s i t u a t i o n s in which the landlords are more numerous than would enable them to exercise monopolistic or o l i g o p o l i s t i c control over the market.  In these s i t u a t i o n s i t w i l l be a mistake to argue  that the landlord can set the value of r as he pleases.  159  Empirical  Findings  Returning to the p a r t i c u l a r circumstances of land tenure in Bangladesh reviewed in the preceding chapter, one can see that the assumption made by the anti-MarshalTian school with regard to the control exercised over r by the landlord i s not generally v a l i d , given that there are numerous land owners renting out land.  Also,  in the context of Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , the sharecropper i s found to make his production decisions on the rented land l a r g e l y independent of the d i r e c t i o n or supervision, of the l a n d l o r d . In Bangladesh the average farm s i z e of the owner-cum-tenants who obtained more than 80% of the t o t a l rented land in 1977 was 3 acres according to the 1977 Land Occupancy Survey.  This indicates  that many sharecroppers in Bangladesh are operating above the level of subsistence.  Cost-sharing has not been a common p r a c t i c e in the  sharecropping arrangements found i n Bangladesh (see Table 11, page 109). Under these circumstances, i t w i l l be worthwhile to i n v e s t i g a t e in the Bangladesh context the v a l i d i t y of the Marshallian argument that sharecroppers would make less i n t e n s i v e use of the various inputs and would end up with lower output per unit of land than would have occurred under owner c u l t i v a t i o n .  The 'subsistence of the number of (in agricultural subsistence need  In proceeding to make t h i s  farm s i z e ' can be found out by d i v i d i n g the product family members and per c a p i t a subsistence needs output) by average y i e l d per acre. Per c a p i t a has been taken as .170 ton of r i c e f o l l o w i n g  B l a i r (see H.W. B l a i r , The Elusiveness of Equity: Institutional Approaches to Rural Development in Bangladesh, Ithaca: Rural  Development Committee, Cornell U n i v e r s i t y , 1974, p. 12). subsistence s i z e works out to be about 2.5 acres.  The  160 i n v e s t i g a t i o n , f i r s t a regression analysis w i l l be attempted and then an i n t e r d i s t r i c t study undertaken.  Regression  analysis:  Data a v a i l a b l e allowed the estimation of the following simple regression equations to t e s t the r e l a t i o n s h i p between sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n and i n t e n s i t y of i n p u t - u s e : ^  a  = a  where,  +  1  2  b  T + e.j  1  + b  7  2  T +  e  (i)  (ii)  2  M  = farmyard manure used per unit of net sown area,  T  = percentage of t o t a l c u l t i v a t e d area under sharecropping tenancy,  F  = chemical f e r t i l i z e r used per unit of net sown area, and  e-|  e  2  = error terms.  These regression equations were estimated by using data on the use of farmyard manure and chemical f e r t i l i z e r s per unit of net down area in seven d i f f e r e n t d i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh (Rajshahi, Kushtia, Bogra, B a r i s a l , Dacca, Mymensingh and Comilla) which were a v a i l a b l e i n Government of Bangladesh, Farm'Management Research  in Retrospect,  Dacca:  Ministry  of  A g r i c u l t u r e , 1973. Information on the incidence of tenancy in these d i s t r i c t s has already been reported in Table 15, (see p. 130).  161 Estimation of regression equation ( i ) y i e l d e d the following results: M  22.68 - 0.8198 T (-3.16)  2 R  .6657  The sign of the c o e f f i c i e n t of T has come out negative i n d i c a t i n g an inverse r e l a t i o n s h i p between the l e v e l of tenancy and the i n t e n s i t y 2 of manure-use.  The value of R  shows that about 67% of the v a r i a t i o n  in manure-use has been explained by v a r i a t i o n s in l e v e l s of sharecropping tenancy.  This represents a good f i t of the data.  Probability  error f o r the estimated equation works out to be .025, which means that the c o e f f i c i e n t of T i s s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t from zero allowing 2.5% error.  A l l t h i s allows us to conclude that in estimating  regression  equation ( i ) the extent of sharecropping tenancy has been found to be a s i g n i f i c a n t v a r i a b l e i n determining the use of farmyard manure. Intensity of manure-use has been low in areas of high l e v e l s of sharecropping tenancy as compared to the i n t e n s i t y demonstrated in areas of low l e v e l s of tenancy. The r e l a t i v e i n t e n s i t i e s with which chemical f e r t i l i z e r s were used i n areas of d i f f e r i n g l e v e l s of sharecropping tenancy are revealed by the f o l l o w i n g r e s u l t s obtained in estimating regression equation ( i i ) : F = 21.58 - 0.8765 T (-3.24) R  2  = .6770  162 Again, the c o e f f i c i e n t of T has come out negative suggesting an inverse r e l a t i o n s h i p between the extent of tenancy and the use of chemical f e r t i l i z e r s .  sharecropping 2 Value of R  here  shows that about 68% of the v a r i a t i o n in f e r t i l i z e r use can be explained by v a r i a t i o n s in l e v e l s of sharecropping  tenancy.  P r o b a b i l i t y error in t h i s case i s the same as i t was i n the previous estimated equation, that i s , .025.  Therefore, extent of share-  cropping tenancy can be taken as a s i g n i f i c a n t v a r i a b l e i n determining the i n t e n s i t y of the use of chemical f e r t i l i z e r s . The obvious simple regression equation that can help in t e s t i n g whether there i s an inverse r e l a t i o n s h i p between the extent of tenancy and p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land  where,  can be w r i t t e n as,  C  a  C  p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land,  T  percentage of t o t a l c u l t i v a t e d area under sharecropping tenancy, and  e3  error term.  0  + b-T + e  (iii)  Data f o r estimating regression equation ( i i i ) came from the same source as used f o r estimating equations ( i ) and ( i i ) .  163 Results obtained in estimating regression equation ( i i i ) were the f o l l o w i n g :  C R  = 702.9 - 13.00 T (-1.65) 2  = .3517  Although the negative sign of the c o e f f i c i e n t f o r T conforms 2 with t h e o r e t i c a l expectations, the value of R  i s not s a t i s f a c t o r y .  Besides, the p r o b a b i l i t y error i s found to be .10, which means that the r e l a t i o n s h i p would be v a l i d i f one allows f o r an e r r o r as high as 10%. While the r e s u l t s obtained in estimating the above simple regression equations are indicative  of the underlying  relationships  among the v a r i a b l e s involved, one should note that they do not provide conclusive support.  It would have been more desirable to  use data on larger sample sizes in estimating these equations. data were, unfortunately, not a v a i l a b l e .  Such  Estimation of m u l t i p l e ,  rather than simple, regression equations might also have increased the explanatory power of the regression models.  However, problems of  m u T t i c o l l i n e a r i t y would l i k e l y a f f e c t the q u a l i t y of the r e s u l t s in that case. An a l t e r n a t i v e way to proceed in t e s t i n g the e f f e c t s of tenancy on input-use and p r o d u c t i v i t y i s presented in the f o l l o w i n g i n t e r district  study.  164 Bogra and Rajshahi:  An i n t e r d i s t r i c t study.  Bogra and Rajshahi are two neighbouring d i s t r i c t s in the northwestern region of Bangladesh.  Of the two, Bogra i s smaller i n  s i z e (with a land area of 1 ,502 square miles as opposed to 3,654 square miles f o r Rajshahi).  The land tenure patterns in these  d i s t r i c t s are quite d i s s i m i l a r in that the percentage of farmland under sharecropping tenancy in Rajshahi i s almost twice as large as in Bogra.  Thus, a comparison of the a g r i c u l t u r a l production behaviour  in these two d i s t r i c t s would suggest an opportunity f o r judging the e f f e c t s of varying degrees of sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n on land use and p r o d u c t i v i t i e s . The d i s t r i c t s of Bogra and Rajshahi were chosen as sample areas for t h i s study also because they were quite s i m i l a r to each other in respect to topography, s o i l composition, and c l i m a t i c conditions.  If  one or more of these f a c t o r s were s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t i n the two d i s t r i c t s then i t would be d i f f i c u l t to segregate the e f f e c t s of the d i f f e r e n t i a l impacts of land tenure patterns on production behaviour. The time period of data f o r t h i s study i s 1959-60.  Selection of  t h i s p a r t i c u l a r time period was necessitated p r i m a r i l y by the a v a i l a b i l i t y of data.  18  Data used in t h i s study came mainly from the f o l l o w i n g sources: i.  Government of P a k i s t a n , Population Census of Pakistan, 1961: District Census Report, Bogra, Karachi: M i n i s t r y of Home  Affairs,  ii.  (undated),  Government of P a k i s t a n , Population D i s t r i c t Census Report, Rajshahi,  A f f a i r s , (undated).  iii.  Government of P a k i s t a n , Pakistan  Vol.  Census of Pakistan, 1961: Karachi: M i n i s t r y of Home Census of Agriculture,  1960,  I, Final Report - East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962.  165 In t h i s study a discussion of the p h y s i c a l - c l i m a t i c conditions as well as the land tenure patterns in the two d i s t r i c t s w i l l be followed by a comparison of the production behaviour and an analysis of the reasons f o r the demonstrated d i f f e r e n t i a l in a g r i c u l t u r a l production performances in these areas.  P h y s i c a l - c l i m a t i c conditions S o i l composition:  Both Bogra and Rajshahi are part of the great  a l l u v i a l p l a i n s of Bangladesh.  Information on s o i l composition,  which i s a v a i l a b l e in Map 2 (page 115), has been magnified f o r Bogra. and Rajshahi in Maps 7 and 8 on the next page f o r getting a c l e a r e r picture of the comparability of s o i l in the two d i s t r i c t s .  As can  be seen, s o i l s c l a s s i f i e d as sandy loams (doash) are the dominant s o i l - t y p e and cover s i m i l a r proportions of t o t a l land i n both d i s t r i c t s . These s o i l s are quite f e r t i l e , being of an intermediate q u a l i t y between more f e r t i l e s i l t s and less f e r t i l e c l a y s . {khiar  or lalmati)  and Rajshahi.  Red and yellow s o i l s  are the next major s o i l constituents of both Bogra  These s o i l s are part of the old a l l u v i a of the Barind  t r a c t and are of a r e l a t i v e l y low l e v e l of f e r t i l i t y .  Red and yellow  s o i l s are very hard when dry and hence become d i f f i c u l t to plough. Maps 7 and 8.would show s i m i l a r proportions of t o t a l land in Bogra and Rajshahi composed of these s o i l s .  S i l t loams {palimati)  are the next  important constituent of the s o i l s of the sample areas, which again  Map 7.  S o i l Composition of Rajshahi  Map. 8.  S o i l Composition of Bogra  167 c o n s t i t u t e comparable proportions of t o t a l land area i n the two districts.  These s o i l s are composed of fresh s i l t which i s  deposited a f t e r the water i n an area inundated by a r i v e r subsides. The r i v e r Jamuna inundates the eastern border of Bogra, thereby accounting f o r the s i l t loams i n i t s s o i l .  The s i l t loams i n  Rajshahi along the southwestern border of the d i s t r i c t are the r e s u l t of the inundations of the r i v e r Padma. f e r t i l e and can be ploughed with r e l a t i v e ease.  These s o i l s are highly A very small  proportion of land i n Rajshahi i s composed of clays {matial).  These  s o i l s become hard during the dry season and s t i c k y during the monsoon.  Consequently, ploughing these s o i l s i s a d i f f i c u l t task.  To quantify the areas covered by s o i l s of broad f e r t i l i t y groups in the two d i s t r i c t s , the proportion of s o i l s that are r e l a t i v e l y more f e r t i l e (that i s , s i l t s and sandy loams) c o n s t i t u t e about 60% of the land of each d i s t r i c t , while the other 40% i s composed of s o i l s of r e l a t i v e l y low f e r t i l i t y (that i s , clays and red/yellow s o i l s ) .  Climatic conditions:  As shown i n Map 3 (page 117), both Bogra  and Rajshahi belong to the dry region of the country.  According to a  study conducted by Manalo, the average annual r a i n f a l l f o r a seventyyear period (from 1902 to 1972) was 65 inches f o r Bogra and 58 inches 19 for Rajshahi.  During 1959-60, which i s the time period under  E.B. Manalo, Agvo-Climatio  Survey  of Bangladesh,  Rice Research I n s t i t u t e , (undated), pp. 48, 50.  Bangladesh  168 c o n s i d e r a t i o n , these f i g u r e s were 65 inches and 56 inches respectively.  Data on the temperature and humidity experienced  by the two d i s t r i c t s during 1959-60 were not a v a i l a b l e .  However,  information on these important c l i m a t i c f a c t o r s were a v a i l a b l e f o r the period 1966-70 and are presented i n Table 16. The data on c l i m a t i c conditions show that Bogra and Rajshahi have very s i m i l a r c l i m a t e s .  Bogra enjoys a r e l a t i v e l y greater amount  of r a i n f a l l than Rajshahi.; but the d i f f e r e n c e (about .75 inch per month) does not appear very s i g n i f i c a n t .  Table 16. .  Temperature and Humidity in Bogra and Rajshahi (averages f o r the period 1966-70)  Bogra  Rajshahi  Average annual temperature ( F) - maximum - minimum Average annual humidity (percentage)  Source:  106 44  108 45  78  78  Government of Bangladesh, Statistical Digest of Bangladesh, No. 8, Dacca: Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1972.  169 Land Tenure The basic f a c t s on land tenure in the two d i s t r i c t s are summarized in Table 17. To determine the extent of tenant c u l t i v a t i o n i n the two d i s t r i c t s , one needs to estimate the amount of land that i s rented in both by tenants and by owner-cum-tenants.  Although the o r i g i n a l  data did not provide information on the percentage of t o t a l farm area rented by owner-cum-tenants, these were c a l c u l a t e d with the help of data on, (i)  tenant operated farm area:  covering a l l area  under pure tenants and area which i s rented by owner-cum-tenants, (ii) (iii)  t o t a l farm area of pure tenants, t o t a l farm area of owner-cum-tenants. .  Areas owned and rented by the owner-cum-tenants can now be calculated as f o l l o w s : Area rented by owner-cum-tenants = ( i ) - ( i i ) Area owned by owner-cum-tenants  = (iii) -  [(i) - (ii)]  The t o t a l farm area under tenancy i s obtained by simply adding the area rented by the owner-cum-tenants to the area covered by the pure tenants.  The relevant f i g u r e s f o r Bogra and Rajshahi are  presented in Table 18.  This table shows that Rajshahi has a much  higher proportion of farmland under tenancy than Bogra.  The reason  f o r t h i s may l i e in the disparate h i s t o r i c a l experiences of the two districts.  Table 17.  General Information on Land Tenure in Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60  D i s t r i c t and Tenure Category  Percentage of All Farms  Percentage of Total Farm Area  Average Size of Farm (acre)  Bogra Owner-farmers  56  58  4.01  Owner-cum-tenants  40  40  3.82  4  2  1.79  Owner-farmers  43  37  4.34  Owner-cum-tenants  55  62  5.65  2  1  2.92  Pure tenants Rajshahi  Pure tenants  Source:  Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Census of Agriculture, 1960, Vol. I, Final Report - East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962.  171  Percentage of Total Farm Area Operated Under D i f f e r e n t Arrangements by D i f f e r e n t Tenure-Categories in Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60  Table 18.  Bogra  Rajshahi  Area owned by owner-cum-tenants as percentage of t o t a l farm area  25.31  37.62  Area rented by owner-cum-tenants as percentage of t o t a l farm area  14.09  24.38  Percentage of farm area under tenancy  16.09  25.38  Source:  Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Census of Agriculture, I960, V o l . I, Final Report East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962.  Rajshahi was a t r a d i t i o n a l stronghold of the r e n t - r e c e i v i n g Hindu zamindars  even before the B r i t i s h came into the p i c t u r e .  20  The  B r i t i s h r u l e strengthened t h e i r p o s i t i o n f u r t h e r by incorporating the d i s t r i c t w i t h i n the "great zamindari of Rajshahi".  21  In contrast,  Bogra, which came into existence as a d i s t r i c t as r e c e n t l y as 1821, was a hinterland of the great zamindari  estates.  22  As i t has been  See Government of P a k i s t a n , Population Census of Pakistan, 1961: District Census Report, Rajshahi, Karachi: M i n i s t r y of Home  A f f a i r s , (undated), p. 6.  22  Ibid.,  p.  7.  Ibid.,  p.  7.  172 argued e a r l i e r in Chapter II,  even a f t e r the zamindari  system was  abolished s h o r t l y a f t e r P a k i s t a n ' s independence, the old d i s p a r i t y in land ownership p e r s i s t e d , though at a somewhat lower l e v e l . This was so because many of the underproprietors of those Hindu zamindars  who f l e d to India were able to occupy the land l e f t behind  by t h e i r superiors.  As a consequence Rajshahi was l e f t with  r e l a t i v e l y more large 1 and owners, than Bogra; land owners who would be in a p o s i t i o n to rent out land. The most common rental arrangement in both d i s t r i c t s was sharecropping.  Eighty-two per cent of a l l rented land in Bogra was under  sharecropping c o n t r a c t s , the corresponding f i g u r e f o r Rajshahi being about 98%.  One can now determine the percentages of farm area under  sharecropping tenancy i n the two d i s t r i c t s f o r the time period under consideration (1959-60): District  Percentage of Total Farm Area Sharecropped  Bogra  13.19  Rajshahi  24.87  It might be noted that the percentage of t o t a l farm area under sharecropping tenancy i s not n e c e s s a r i l y i d e n t i c a l with the percentage of t o t a l c u l t i v a t e d area under sharecropping tenancy.  It i s the l a t t e r  of these two that one should be concerned with i f the goal i s to determine the e x t e n t ' o f r e l i a n c e on sharecropping tenancy f o r the actual c u l t i v a t i o n of farmland.  Information on how the t o t a l c u l t i v a t e d  173 area in the two d i s t r i c t s was d i s t r i b u t e d among d i f f e r e n t tenurecategories has been summarized in Table 19 below.  Table 19.  Percentage of Total C u l t i v a t e d Area Under D i f f e r e n t Tenure-Categories in Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60  Tenure-Categories  Bogra  Rajshahi  Owner-farmers  58.07  35.36  Owner-cum-tenants  40.05  63.62  1.88  1.02  Pure tenants  Source:  Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Census of Agriculture, iSfiOj-Vol. I, Final Report - East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962.  Again, one i s faced with the task of f i n d i n g out the percentage of t o t a l c u l t i v a t e d area under tenancy, part of which would be under the  owner-cum-tenants and part under the pure tenants.  Given the  nature of a v a i l a b l e data, t h i s can be done only with the assumption that the owner-cum-tenant c u l t i v a t e s equal proportions of farmland he owns and what he rents i n .  This assumption can be j u s t i f i e d by noting  174 the f a c t that those land owners who rent extra land do so because they f i n d owned land to be less than what they require to meet family needs.  They c u l t i v a t e t h e i r own land to the greatest  possible  extent before renting land; and, of course, rented land would not be kept u n d e r u t i l i z e d e i t h e r . The f o l l o w i n g formulations have been used to obtain figures on how the c u l t i v a t e d area under the owner-cum-tenants was divided between the land they own and land they hold under tenancy:  Y, and  Y  where,  y-,  =  portion of the c u l t i v a t e d area under the owner-cumtenants owned by them,  y„  =  portion of the c u l t i v a t e d area under the owner-cumtenants obtained under tenancy,  x-j  =  farm area owned by owner-cum-tenants,  x  =  farm area rented by owner-cum-tenants,  X  =  t o t a l farm area under the owner-cum-tenants and rented),  Y  =  t o t a l c u l t i v a t e d area under the owner-cum-tenants (owned and rented).  2  Since values of x^, x , X and Y were already known, y-j 2  could be calculated e a s i l y . presented in Table 20.  (owned  and y  Information on a l l of these has been  2  175 Table 20.  Farm Area and C u l t i v a t e d Area Under D i f f e r e n t Categories of Tenure Arrangement in Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60 Bogra  (acres)  Rajshahi  ( x i ) Farm area owned by owner-cum-tenants  189,927  694,882  ( x ) Farm area rented by owner-cum-tenants  108,028  451 ,647  Total farm area under the owner-cum-tenants (owned and rented)  297,955  1 ,146,529  Total c u l t i v a t e d area under the owner-cum-tenants (owned and rented)  276,122  1,028,478  176,010  623,334  100,1:12  405,144  2  (X)  (Y)  (Yl) Portion of the c u l t i v a t e d area under the owner-cumtenants owned by,them ( y ) Portion of the c u l t i v a t e d area under the owner-cumtenants obtained under tenancy 2  Source:  Government of P a k i s t a n , Pakistan Census of Agvioultuve, I960, V o l . I, F i n a l Report East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962.  176 By adding the value of  with the area c u l t i v a t e d by pure  tenants one can f i n d the t o t a l c u l t i v a t e d area under tenancy.  With  the information gathered so f a r one can also c a l c u l a t e the f o l l o w i n g f i g u r e s f o r the percentages of t o t a l c u l t i v a t e d area under sharecropping tenancy in the two d i s t r i c t s . . District  Percentages of Total C u l t i v a t e d Area Under Sharecropping Tenancy, 1959-60  Bogra  13.39  Rajshahi  25.51  As compared to Bogra, one f i n d s Rajshahi to be the d i s t r i c t with a much greater r e l i a n c e on sharecropping tenancy f o r the c u l t i v a t i o n of i t s farmland. Data on the degree of landlessness in the sample areas of t h i s study were, unfortunately, not a v a i l a b l e .  However, data were a v a i l a b l e  on hired labour as a percentage of t o t a l a g r i c u l t u r a l workers.  These  data may o f f e r some i n d i c a t i o n as.to the l e v e l of landlessness since a g r i c u l t u r a l wage-earners are drawn mostly from the landless  households.  In Bogra, 8.92% of a l l a g r i c u l t u r a l workers were hired labour, the corresponding f i g u r e f o r Rajshahi being 11.82%. It i s f a i r to conclude from the above discussion that Bogra and Rajshahi are two d i s t r i c t s in Bangladesh where considerable s i m i l a r i t i e s in s o i l composition and c l i m a t i c conditions p r e v a i l , but where the extents of sharecropping tenancy are s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t .  177 Therefore, large differences i n p r o d u c t i v i t i e s demonstrated by the two d i s t r i c t s would be explained less by the p h y s i c a l - c l i m a t i c differences than by organizational arrangements d i f f e r e n t i a l tenure arrangement.  including the  Whether the l e v e l s of p r o d u c t i v i t y  have been s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t i n Bogra and Rajshahi, and how f a r such differences can be convincingly associated with d i f f e r e n c e s in the incidence of sharecropping tenancy i s discussed i n the following section.  Levels of a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i v i t y and possible  explanations  For the sake of s i m p l i c i t y the l e v e l s of p r o d u c t i v i t y w i l l be compared here only in terms of the y i e l d s per acre of the most important crop f o r both the d i s t r i c t s — r i c e .  23  Average  p r o d u c t i v i t y figures in r i c e y i e l d s per acre f o r Bogra and Rajshahi f o r the time period under consideration are as f o l l o w s : District  Rice Y i e l d (maunds per acre, 1 maund = 82.29 l b s . )  Bogra  9.5  Rajshahi  7.5  Percentage of t o t a l cropped acreage under r i c e was about 80% in Bogra and 70% in Rajshahi.  178 Rajshahi, the d i s t r i c t with the greater percentage of c u l t i v a t e d land under sharecropping tenancy, was thus producing less per unit of land than Bogra.  To judge whether t h i s d i f f e r e n c e  in p r o d u c t i v i t y can be a t t r i b u t e d to a v a r i a t i o n in the i n t e n s i t i e s of input-use in the d i s t r i c t s r e s u l t i n g from t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l tenure patterns, one has to investigate the e f f e c t s on p r o d u c t i v i t y of f a c t o r s independent of the i n t e n s i t y of input-use.  It has already  been shown that the s o i l composition and the c l i m a t i c conditions the two d i s t r i c t s are quite s i m i l a r .  in  The possible c o n t r i b u t i o n of  each of the f o l l o w i n g f a c t o r s in creating the p r o d u c t i v i t y d i f f e r e n t i a l w i l l now be considered: ( i ) nature of the r i c e crops produced, ( i i ) a v a i l a b i l i t y of f e r t i l i z e r s , ( i i i ) a v a i l a b i l i t y of i r r i g a t i o n f a c i l i t i e s , ( i v ) farm implements and work-animals in possession, (v) a v a i l a b i l i t y of c r e d i t , ( v i ) percentage of labour force in n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l activities, ( v i i ) i n t e r n a l demands f o r r i c e . Going back to the study on the r e g i o n a l i z a t i o n of Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e presented in the previous chapter, i t can be seen in Map 4 (page 120) that aus and aman are the two major r i c e crops produced in these d i s t r i c t s . maunds  Per acre average y i e l d of the aman crop i s about 1.2 24 more than the per acre y i e l d of the aus crop. Therefore,  See Ahmed, op.ait.,  pp. 67-69.  179 one may argue that i f Bogra had a r e l a t i v e l y greater proportion of i t s r i c e - l a n d under the more productive aman crop then at l e a s t part of the d i f f e r e n c e in y i e l d could be explained by the v a r i a t i o n in the pattern of r i c e cropping. t h i s argument.  However, the f a c t s do not support  The percentages of r i c e lands devoted to aus and  aman in the two d i s t r i c t s during the period 1959-60 show that Rajshahi had a s l i g h t l y greater proportion of the r i c e - l a n d s under 25 the more productive aman: Percentage of Rice-Land Under  Percentage of Rice-Land Under  Aman  Aus  Bogra  68  30  Rajshahi  71  25  Bogra was reported to have used farmyard manure and/or chemical f e r t i l i z e r s on 49% of i t s cropped acreage. f o r Rajshahi was 38%.  The corresponding  figure  How much farmyard manure i s applied to the  cropped acreage depends upon the extent to which the common by-products of a farm are u t i l i z e d .  Although no concrete data are a v a i l a b l e , i t  could be expected t h a t , because of the geographical c o n t i g u i t y of Bogra and Rajshahi  (which would allow easy m o b i l i t y between the d i s t r i c t s )  there would not be wide v a r i a t i o n s in the l e v e l s of supply of chemical  R a j s h a h i ' a l s o had a greater proportion of i t s r i c e - l a n d s under the less important, but h i g h e s t - y i e l d i n g , r i c e crop — b o r o .  180 f e r t i l i z e r s sold by dealers in r e l a t i o n to demands e x i s t i n g in the districts.  One, t h e r e f o r e , has reason to conclude that the  greater use of manure and f e r t i l i z e r s in Bogra was caused not by d i f f e r e n t i a l a v a i l a b i l i t y of these i n p u t s , but rather by a decision in favour of more intensive u t i l i z a t i o n of a v a i l a b l e resources. I r r i g a t i o n by power-pumps covered .17% and .12% of t o t a l c u l t i v a t e d areas of Bogra and Rajshahi r e s p e c t i v e l y during 1959-60. These areas were so i n s i g n i f i c a n t i n s i z e that the s l i g h t edge enjoyed by Bogra in power-pump i r r i g a t i o n appears n e g l i g i b l e i n the search f o r possible explanations f o r the d i f f e r e n c e in p r o d u c t i v i t y . Most of the i r r i g a t i o n in both d i s t r i c t s resulted from s m a l l - s c a l e i n d i v i d u a l i n i t i a t i v e , the scope f o r which was s i m i l a r in both 27 districts.  However, Bogra had 14% of i t s c u l t i v a t e d land i r r i g a t e d ,  while in Rajshahi only 8% of c u l t i v a t e d land was i r r i g a t e d .  The benefit  that Bogra received from more widespread i r r i g a t i o n seems to have been the  r e s u l t of a more intensive use o f . a v a i l a b l e resources. The a v a i l a b i l i t y of farm implements and work-animals in the two  d i s t r i c t s has been presented i n Table 21.  Neither of the d i s t r i c t s received any appreciable amount of chemical f e r t i l i z e r s through government agencies during 1959-60. In his "Water D i s t r i c t Grouping" Tabors has put Bogra and Rajshahi w i t h i n the same group. See R. Tabors, The definition of Multifunctional  Planning  Regions:  A Case Study  of East  Pakistan, Cambridge (Mass.): Center f o r Population Studies, Harvard U n i v e r s i t y , May 1971, pp. 62-63.  181 Table 21.  Farm Implements and Work-Animals in Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60  Bogra  Rajshahi  189,730  395,710  C u l t i v a t e d area per plough (acres)  3.7  4.1  C u l t i v a t e d area per workanimal (acres)  2.0  2.2  Number of wooden ploughs  Source:  Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Census of Agriculture, 1960, V o l . I, F i n a l Report East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962.  Khusro has c a l c u l a t e d that in West Bengal the minimum s i z e of farm below which a p a i r of bullocks and a plough would be under28 employed (the plough u n i t ) i s 5 acres.  Conditions of a g r i c u l t u r e  in both Bogra and Rajshahi, which share common borders with West Bangal, have been s i m i l a r to those e x i s t i n g in West Bengal.  Therefore,  i t would not be unwarranted to accept Khusro's f i g u r e of plough unit f o r Bogra and Rajshahi as w e l l .  The average area covered by a p a i r of  bullocks in each of the d i s t r i c t s was less than t h i s plough unit of  A.M.  Khusro, Economies  Delhi:  of Land Reform  and Farm Size  The Macmillan Company of India, 1973, p. 51.  in  India,  182 5 acres, and about 90% of the t o t a l farm area in each d i s t r i c t was covered by those households which possessed ploughs (and workanimals to go with them).  Hence, neither Bogra nor Rajshahi appear  l i m i t e d by a v a i l a b i l i t y of ploughs and work-animal constraints in 29 c u l t i v a t i n g farmland. It i s important to enquire whether Bogra enjoyed a better p o s i t i o n than Rajshahi in terms of a v a i l a b i l i t y of c r e d i t which would enable i t to invest more money in a g r i c u l t u r e to produce more per unit of land.  To examine t h i s , figures on indebtedness and sources  of loans are presented in Table 22. As Table 22 shows, a greater percentage of farms i n Rajshahi were able to obtain loans from government as well as non-government  sources.  It i s probable that Rajshahi being the d i s t r i c t with a higher percentage of r e l a t i v e l y large farms, a greater percentage of households there could provide the c o l l a t e r a l needed f o r obtaining government loans.  Greater proportions of the loans in both the  d i s t r i c t s were obtained from non-government sources which included r e l a t i v e s , f r i e n d s and r i c h land owners.  The percentage of farms  taking loans from non-government sources was higher in Rajshahi One may note here that although there does not e x i s t a w e l l developed market f o r the h i r i n g of farm implements and workanimals i n Bangladesh, some sharing of these items does take p l a c e , p a r t i c u l a r l y among k i t h and k i n . This lends extra support to the present argument.  183 Table 22.  Indebtedness and Sources of Loan in Bogra and Rajshahi, 1959-60  (i)  Percentage of farms reporting debt  (ii)  Percentage of farms reporting debt from government sources *  (iii)  Percentage of farms reporting debt from nongovernment sources *  (iv)  Percentage of farms reporting debt from both government and nongovernment sources ( i i i ) + ( i i ) - (i)  (v)  Percentage of farms reporting debt from only non-government sources ( i i i ) - (iv)  (vi)  Percentage of farms reporting debt from only government sources (i) - ( i i i )  * These farms may or may not have obtained loans from other sources. Source:  Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Census of Agriculture, I960, V o l . I, Final Report East Pakistan, Part I, October 1962.  184 probably because of the c o n s i d e r a t i o n , among others, that the proportion of farms having r e l a t i v e l y large landholdings hence the capacity to extend loans was higher there.  and  A greater  proportion of the r e l a t i v e l y small farmers, who would need the c r e d i t most, were found to have borrowed money from one source or another in Rajshahi.  Thus, in Rajshahi, 49% of those farms  which were below 5 acres i n s i z e obtained loans from some source, whereas in Bogra 43% of the farms in the same size-category were found to secure loans.  A l l of t h i s indicates that i t was not so  much a c r e d i t handicap that caused Rajshahi to perform less productively than Bogra. Another source of c a p i t a l f o r the farm households could be the income earned by family members employed in n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l occupations.  Since most of the non-agricultural workers maintain  close contact with the rural, areas of t h e i r o r i g i n , and since they t r y to help t h e i r rural r e l a t i v e s with money i f they can a f f o r d i t , i t i s worthwhile to enquire i f one or the other d i s t r i c t appeared more l i k e l y to benefit from such advantages.  The only information  that could be gathered in t h i s , r e s p e c t was the percentage of the t o t a l labour force engaged in n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t i e s i n each of the d i s t r i c t s .  Since Bangladesh had no major i n d u s t r i a l centre  during 1959-60 that could a t t r a c t any s i g n i f i c a n t flow of labour from the various d i s t r i c t s , one can assume that most of the n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l  185 labour force remained w i t h i n t h e i r d i s t r i c t s of o r i g i n .  Therefore,  the f a c t that 10.79% of the t o t a l labour force in Bogra and 11.81% of that in Rajshahi were employed in n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l occupations would i n d i c a t e that the a g r i c u l t u r a l sectors of the two d i s t r i c t s 30 were in comparable positions to obtain c a p i t a l from t h i s source. Therefore, the d i f f e r e n c e in the l e v e l s of p r o d u c t i v i t y in the two d i s t r i c t s would again seem not to be explainable i n these terms. It has been shown that Rajshahi has performed r e l a t i v e l y poorly compared to Bogra with respect, to per acre y i e l d of r i c e .  What has  not been considered yet i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between i n t e r n a l demands f o r r i c e grain and i t s production.  Is i t possible that Rajshahi,  with a lower population density (769 per square m i l e , compared to 1,048 per square mile in Bogra), could generate an i n t e r n a l supply of per capita r i c e grain equal t o , or even higher than, the corresponding  T h i s , of course, i s based on the assumption that n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l occupations with d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of remuneration had comparable openings f o r the labour force of both d i s t r i c t s . This i s not an u n r e a l i s t i c assumption given that neither had a well developed urban i n d u s t r i a l i z e d or t r a d i n g ' s e c t o r . Tabors {op.ait., p. 50) has put these d i s t r i c t s in the same group in his "Industry D i s t r i c t Groupings", which lends extra support to the assumption. If one considers the f a c t pointed but by Tabors, that Rajshahi had an edge over Bogra in terms of cottage industry employments then- one only helps in strengthening the conclusion that a g r i c u l t u r e in Rajshahi did not have a narrower scope f o r obtaining c a p i t a l from the source under consideration.  186 supply made in Bogra even with a Tower per acre y i e l d ?  This  question gains in importance when one enquires i f ' s a t i a t i o n ' of basic needs f o r food and s h e l t e r imposes any l i m i t s on work e f f o r t s and p r o d u c t i v i t y .  Such doubts can be put to r e s t by  noting the figures on per c a p i t a r i c e production along with the figures f o r per acre y i e l d in the two d i s t r i c t s during the period under c o n s i d e r a t i o n , 1959-60. District  Per Capita Rice Production (maunds)  Per Acre Y i e l d (maunds)  Bogra  4.25  9.5  Rajshahi  3.36  7.5  The important point to note about the above figures i s that the d i s t r i c t with the lower y i e l d produced less per c a p i t a as w e l l . Therefore, lower y i e l d per unit of land i n Rajshahi could not be explained by lower demands on i t s lands. From the above discussion, i t appears that Rajshahi, which had a much greater r e l i a n c e on sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n than Bogra, achieved a lower l e v e l of p r o d u c t i v i t y mainly due to a less i n t e n s i v e u t i l i z a t i o n of a v a i l a b l e resources.  Although one would  require more data than are a v a i l a b l e to be conclusive about i t , the i n t e r d i s t r i c t study strongly implies that when sharecroppers farm tenancies greater in s i z e than necessary to meet basic subsistence needs, the i n t e n s i t y of input-use by them tends to be lower than  187 would l i k e l y be the case under owner c u l t i v a t i o n .  31  Macro-dynamic analysis:. Although the preceding discussion evinces some evidence f o r the r e l a t i v e e f f i c i e n c y of owner c u l t i v a t i o n over sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n in c e r t a i n parts of Bangladesh w i t h i n a s t a t i c set of circumstances, i t does not f o l l o w that the perpetuation of owner c u l t i v a t i o n i n i t s e x i s t i n g form would make good sense f o r Bangladesh.  Two important considerations i n t h i s regard are:  1.  whether the r e l a t i v e e f f i c i e n c y of owner c u l t i v a t i o n can continue to e x i s t with the passage of time,  2.  whether the e f f i c i e n c y of owner c u l t i v a t i o n , as demonstrated w i t h i n a region or a country, i s s a t i s f a c t o r y r e l a t i v e to other possible forms of agrarian organization.  It was pointed out i n evaluating the conventional theories on the r e l a t i v e productive e f f i c i e n c y of d i f f e r e n t tenure groups that the ' m a r g i n a l ' tenants are l i k e l y to. behave more l i k e small ownerc u l t i v a t o r s in making use of the various inputs.  As sharecropped  farms become smaller due to increased pressure on land brought about by population growth, so w i l l owner c u l t i v a t e d farms.  31  Eventually,  The average farm-size under tenants in Rajshahi, the d i s t r i c t with the lower p r o d u c t i v i t y , was over 5 acres, of which over 3 acres were owned by them. This shows that the tenants i n Rajshahi had farms well over the subsistence s i z e of 2.5 acres (subsistence s i z e discussed on p.159). In c o n t r a s t , the average farm s i z e of tenants in Bogra was about 4 acres, of which about 2 acres were owned by them.  188 one may end up with very small sharecropped as well as owner c u l t i v a t e d farms.  If one accepts the argument that neither of  these groups of farms would l i k e l y be in a p o s i t i o n to a f f o r d s i g n i f i c a n t investments in securing better q u a l i t y inputs or improving the q u a l i t y of land  then the l e v e l s of p r o d u c t i v i t y  achieved would i n c r e a s i n g l y be a function of the i n t e n s i t y with which they use t r a d i t i o n a l inputs mainly generated from w i t h i n the farm i t s e l f .  Therefore, as the sizes of sharecropped and  owner c u l t i v a t e d farms become smaller in s i z e one would expect a narrowing down of the d i f f e r e n c e between the l e v e l s of p r o d u c t i v i t y achieved by them. Unfortunately, no recent data on the farm sizes of d i f f e r e n t tenure groups in Bogra and Rajshahi are a v a i l a b l e which could have been used, along with the p r o d u c t i v i t y figures f o r the relevant period, to show how changes i n farm sizes of tenure groups in these d i s t r i c t s since 1959-60 may have a f f e c t e d t h e i r p r o d u c t i v i t i e s . However, one can look at some.recent national figures to get some idea of the change in the average s i z e of farms which rented land in the two d i s t r i c t s during that time.  The 1977 Land Occupancy  Survey shows that the average s i z e of farms renting land during that year was 2.7 acres. 4.2 acres.  During 1959-60 the corresponding f i g u r e was  It i s to be expected that the average s i z e of farms renting  in land in Bogra and Rajshahi would also come down appreciably over  189 the years.  One would, t h e r e f o r e , expect that the l e v e l s of  p r o d u c t i v i t y achieved by the two d i s t r i c t s at a more recent date would become narrower, given that Bogra did not gain  dispropor-  t i o n a t e l y from any public p o l i c i e s with regard to a g r i c u l t u r a l development.  Figures on r i c e y i e l d s in the two d i s t r i c t s f o r  1972-73, when compared with those of 1959-60 (reported e a r l i e r in the i n t e r d i s t r i c t study, and repeated below), support the above 32 contention. District  Rice Y i e l d 1959-60  (maunds/acre) 1972-73  Bogra  9.5  10.2  Rajshahi  7.5  9.3  That the p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land achieved by  small  tenants may not lag f a r behind those of small owner-cultivators can also be demonstrated with the data a v a i l a b l e from an area study 33 done by Hossain.  Table 23 contains some of the r e s u l t s he obtained.  One can see in t h i s t a b l e that the tenants, who had farms sized only about 2.5 acres, surpassed the owner-cultivators (again, with about 2.5 acres of land) in p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land.  Since the  q u a l i t y of land under the owner-cultivators and the sharecroppers was  The 1972-73 figures have been obtained from Ahmed, op.cit.,  p.  66.  Hossain (1977),  op.ait.  190  Table 23.  Farm S i z e s , Input-Use and Land P r o d u c t i v i t i e s of Owner-Cultivators and Tenants in Phulpur Thana, 1973-74  Tenants  OwnerCultivators  2.58  2.54  Average s i z e of farm (acres)  91  100  Intensity of land-use ( t o t a l cropped acreage as percentage of c u l t i v a t e d acreage)  192  200  Land p r o d u c t i v i t y (taka per acre at 1969/70 prices)  672  704  Use of Labour  Source:  (days/acre)  M. Hossain, 'Farm S i z e , Tenancy and Land P r o d u c t i v i t y : An Analysis of Farm Level Data in Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e , Bangladesh 1  Development  Studies,  V o l . V, No. 3, J u l y  pp. 314, 316, 321, 345.  1977,  reported to be comparable, and since the small tenants were not expected to have greater access to the resources used than the o w n e r - c u l t i v a t o r s , one possible conclusion in t h i s regard would be that the tenants, being c l o s e r to the subsistence minimum a f t e r paying rents to the landlords, had to c u l t i v a t e the land under them, with greater i n t e n s i t y to meet family needs with t h e i r share of the t o t a l product.  34  That the q u a l i t y of land under the owners and the tenants were comparable was mentioned by Hossain. See ibid., p. 319.  191 The p o l i c y i m p l i c a t i o n s a r i s i n g out of the above analysis are clear.  To r a i s e the level, of p r o d u c t i v i t y in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e  in the short run i t would be desirable to do away with the present dependence on sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n .  However, the longer run  requirements would not be met by. merely replacing sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n by owner c u l t i v a t i o n .  In the context of Bangladesh  a g r i c u l t u r e , both of these arrangements would r e s u l t in the long run in low l e v e l s of output per unit of land and labour. A study by Jabbar provides some useful information on the p r o d u c t i v i t i e s of owner-cum-tenants, as compared to those of ownerc u l t i v a t o r s , in s i t u a t i o n s where the farmers operated d i f f e r e n t amounts 35 of farmland.  Table 24 presents his findings r e l a t i n g to three  d i f f e r e n t d i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh —  Dinajpur, Mymensingh and Rangpur.  This t a b l e shows that owner-cum-tenants produced more per acre of cropped acreage than did owner-cultivators i n each of the three districts.  However, the only s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e was observed in  Rangpur where the owner-cum-tenants had the lowest farm area (2.46 acres) as compared to other d i s t r i c t s . Data reported above i n d i c a t e that the owner-cultivators in Bangladesh do not always demonstrate better productive e f f i c i e n c y over the tenants.  More importantly, whether owner c u l t i v a t i o n r e s u l t s in  more or less e f f i c i e n c y than does tenant c u l t i v a t i o n , the very poor  Jabbar, op .'ait. Jabbar uses d i f f e r e n t names f o r these tenurecategories (part-tenants and owner-operators).  Table 24.  Average C u l t i v a t e d Area and Land P r o d u c t i v i t y of Different Tenure Categories in Dinajpur, Mymensingh and Rangpur, 1973-74  D i s t r i c t and Tenure Category  Average Cultivated Area (acres)  Value of Crops and Byproducts per Cropped Acreage (Taka)  Dinajpur Owner-cultivators  6.31  1,157  Owner-cum-tenants  4.77  1,179  Owner-cultivators  3.57  1,059  Owner-cum-tenants  2.64  1,063  Owner-cultivators  3.60  1,470  Owner-cum-tenants  2.46  1,590  Mymensingh  Rangpur  Source:  M.A. Jabbar, An Investigation into the Effect Productivity in Selected Areas of Bangladesh.  U n i v e r s i t y of Wales, 1976, pp. 83, 101.  of Farm Structure on Resource Unpublished Ph.D. D i s s e r t a t i o n ,  193 l e v e l s of p r o d u c t i v i t y achieved by e i t h e r of these categories of farmers would suggest that n e i t h e r - i n i t s present form can help the process of a g r i c u l t u r a l development in Bangladesh.  The  regional survey of Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e in the previous chapter showed that the d i s t r i c t s of Sylhet, Comilla and Chittagong H i l l Tracts had below 10% of t h e i r t o t a l cropped acreage under sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n , whereas in the d i s t r i c t s of Khulna, Rajshahi, Dinajpur and Kushtia the corresponding f i g u r e was over 20%.  However,  the p r o d u c t i v i t i e s achieved in both of these categories of d i s t r i c t s were f a r from s a t i s f a c t o r y (the average r i c e y i e l d per acre during 1972-73 being 10.36 maunds f o r the f i r s t category and 9.02 f o r the 36 second category).  37 '  Thus, although the analysis c a r r i e d out so  f a r does i n d i c a t e t h a t , mainly because of equity considerations and also because of some e f f i c i e n c y considerations, i t would be worthwhile in the short run to replace sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n in Bangladesh by owner c u l t i v a t i o n , neither of these a l t e r n a t i v e s in t h e i r present forms would be appropriate f o r the country i n the long run.  A  macro-dynamic analysis of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between farm s i z e and p r o d u c t i v i t y casts doubt on the v i a b i l i t y of owner c u l t i v a t i o n in  These r i c e y i e l d figures are c a l c u l a t e d from data provided by Ahmed. See Ahmed, op. oit. p. 66. 3  37  These p r o d u c t i v i t y f i g u r e s compare w/ith about 40 maunds per acre in China and 65 maunds per acre in Japan. See Food and A g r i c u l t u r e Organization, FAO Production  ( o r i g i n a l f i g u r e s in kg/ha).  Year Book, 1978, Rome, 1979,  p.  98,  194 Bangladesh in the long run. chapter  This w i l l be discussed in t h i s  a f t e r some a d d i t i o n a l aspects of m i c r o - s t a t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p s  between farm s i z e and p r o d u c t i v i t y have been examined.  Farm Size and A g r i c u l t u r a l P r o d u c t i v i t y  M i c r o - s t a t i c analysis Theoretical premise It has already been stated in Chapter I (page 7 ) that the work of A.K. Sen i s considered a landmark i n the analysis of the micro-  38 s t a t i c e f f i c i e n c i e s of d i f f e r e n t sizes of farms.  Sen builds his  argument on the contention that in the family-based a g r i c u l t u r e of densely populated less developed c o u n t r i e s , farms which are r e l a t i v e l y small c u l t i v a t e t h e i r land as i n t e n s i v e l y as possible to produce as much as they can per unit of land. them i s very low.  The opportunity cost of labour f o r  Small farms with surplus family labour cannot  e a s i l y f i n d a l t e r n a t i v e employment opportunities f o r t h i s surplus outside of t h e i r farms.  For t h i s reason they keep on applying labour .  to t h e i r land even when i t s marginal product f a l l s below the market wage r a t e .  These farms maximize output per unit of land in order to  meet f a m i l y consumption needs.  In view of the low opportunity cost  of t h e i r family labour and the subsistence nature of t h e i r farming, the p r o f i t maximizing condition (equalizing marginal' product of labour with going wage rate) i s not relevant f o r them.  Sen, op. ait.  195 The r e l a t i v e l y large farms which employ wage labour to c u l t i v a t e t h e i r land would, however, h i r e labour only to the point where i t s marginal product equals the wage r a t e . would be net l o s e r s .  Otherwise, they  R e l a t i v e l y large farms are, therefore,  associated with lower i n t e n s i t i e s of labour-use than the smaller farms.  The r e s u l t i s that output per unit of land i s higher on  smaller farms.  The point can be i l l u s t r a t e d with the help of  Figure 5.  0  D Labour Figure 5.  input  B »-  M i c r o - S t a t i c E f f i c i e n c y of Small Farms  196 In Figure 5, AB represents the value of the marginal product of labour, and OC the l e v e l of wage which i s exogenously determined. R e l a t i v e l y large farms based on wage labour c u l t i v a t i o n would employ OD amount of labour per u n i t of land since the corresponding point on AB, that i s , E, would s a t i s f y the p r o f i t maximizing condition,  marginal value product of labour (DE) = wage rate (OC).  Value of the t o t a l product i s represented by area OAED and the p r o f i t would equal area CAE (OCED being the t o t a l wage b i l l ) . Farms based on family labour w i l l not, however, hesitate to use family labour up to B. the area OAB.  Here the value of the t o t a l product would equal  Thus, family-based farming of the smaller farms (where  labour supply per unit of land i s abundant), when compared with the wage labour-based farming undertaken by the r e l a t i v e l y large land owners, would produce a greater output.  The value of the output  produced by the smaller farms would be greater i n value by the amount given by,  OAB - OAED = DEB.  If t h i s t o t a l value i s divided by the unit p r i c e of output one gets the amount of a d d i t i o n a l output that family-farming of the smaller  197 farms would r e s u l t i n .  It i s suggested that not only l a n d , but  also the c a p i t a l a v a i l a b l e i n the a g r i c u l t u r a l sectors of most underdeveloped countries would tend to be u t i l i z e d more i n t e n s i v e l y by the smaller farms.  The reason, i t i s argued, i s that a v a i l a b l e  c a p i t a l (draught power, manure, and the l i k e ) are most complementary to the use of human labour.  Empirical  findings  Data on the l e v e l s of land p r o d u c t i v i t y achieved by d i f f e r e n t s i z e - c a t e g o r i e s of owner-farmers i n Bangladesh were a v a i l a b l e f o r a number of d i s t r i c t s in the country. Table 25.  These data are presented in  In a l l of the f i v e d i s t r i c t s reported i n t h i s t a b l e , the  value of production per c u l t i v a t e d acre was highest amongst farms in the smallest size-category.  This i s supportive of an inverse  r e l a t i o n s h i p between s i z e of farm and p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land, which conforms to the hypothesis proposed by Sen's theory. Several other researchers have also reported inverse r e l a t i o n ships between farm-size and p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land. f o r example, f i n d s that in two d i f f e r e n t ihanas w i t h i n a d i s t r i c t ) of Bangladesh.—-Phulpur  Hossain,  (administrative units  and Thakurgaon ( i n the  d i s t r i c t s of Mymensingh and Dinajpur, r e s p e c t i v e l y ) , p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land was higher in owner c u l t i v a t e d farms which were smaller 39 in s i z e .  His data, which r e l a t e to two d i f f e r e n t periods of time  Hossain (1977),  op.ait.  198 Table 25.  Value of Production Per C u l t i v a t e d Acre in Owner-Farms of D i f f e r e n t Sizes in a Number of D i s t r i c t s of Bangladesh (various years)  D i s t r i c t and Year of Study  Size Group of Farms'  Value of Production Per C u l t i v a t e d Acre (Taka)  1966-69  Low Medium High  Dinajpur, 1962-63  Low Medium High  Kushtia,  1966-69  Low Medium High  531 487 433  Mymensingh, 1962-65  Low Medium High  399 389 329  Rajshahi  Low Medium High  404 339 275  Bogra,  1963-66  576 492 413 •  465 360 309  Low groups were defined as having less than 6 acres, medium groups as having between 6.01 to 12 acres, and high groups as having more than 12 acres. Source:  Government of Bangladesh, Farm Management Research in Retrospect, Dacca: M i n i s t r y of A g r i c u l t u r e , 1973.  199 (1969-70 and 1973-74) f o r each thana, .can be seen in Table 26. It would be worthwhile to examine how farms of d i f f e r e n t sizes  in  the country have performed in terms of p r o d u c t i v i t y , not only per u n i t of land, but also in terms of. p r o d u c t i v i t y of d i f f e r e n t factor-rinputs taken together; that i s , in terms of t o t a l f a c t o r p r o d u c t i v i t y . Although i t i s reasonable to concentrate on the p r o d u c t i v i t y of land as a measure of e f f i c i e n c y in s i t u a t i o n s of extreme land s c a r c i t y , one could gain further i n s i g h t s  i n t o the performance of various  operating  groups by looking at t o t a l f a c t o r p r o d u c t i v i t y figures in the country as a whole or in various regions thereof.  Unfortunately, data are not  a v a i l a b l e to allow t h i s at the national l e v e l .  Some information on the  regional level i s , however, a v a i l a b l e from a separate study undertaken 40 by Hossain on the thana of Phulpur.  He employed the f o l l o w i n g  expression to determine the r e l a t i v e t o t a l f a c t o r p r o d u c t i v i t y of a p a r t i c u l a r s i z e group of farms: H  where,  i  A. =  L.  MPL.  +  N.  MPN.  +  C  L.-  MPL  +  N.  MPN  HT~C^  MPC KPC  r e l a t i v e t o t a l f a c t o r p r o d u c t i v i t y of s i z e group i ,  L. =• units of land under a l l farms in s i z e group i , N.. =  units of labour employed by a l l farms in s i z e group i ,  C.-=  units of c a p i t a l used by a l l farms in s i z e group i ,  MPL., MPN., MPC. = marginal products of land, labour and c a p i t a l r e s p e c t i v e l y of a l l farms in s i z e group i , MPL, MPN, MPC  4 0  Hossain (1974),  op.ait.  = marginal products of land, labour and c a p i t a l r e s p e c t i v e l y of a l l farms in a l l s i z e groups.  Table 26.  Value of Production Per Cultivated Acre in Owner C u l t i v a t e d Farms of D i f f e r e n t Sizes in the Thanas of Phulpur and Thakurgaon, 1969-70 and 1973-74  Thana and Farm Size  Value of Production Per Cultivated Acre (Taka at 1969/70 Prices) 1969-70  1973-74  Farms with 6.5 acres or less  461  672  Farms with more than 6.5 acres  294  528  Farms with 6.5 acres or less  331  353  Farms with more than 6.5 acres  301  303  Phulpur  Thakurgaon  Source:  M. Hossain, 'Farm S i z e , Tenancy and Land P r o d u c t i v i t y : An Analysis of Farm Level Data in Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e ' , Bangladesh Development Studies, Vol. V, No. 3, J u l y 1977, p. 314. ro o o  201 A., in Hossain's terms, i s therefore a r a t i o of the actual output of the s i z e group i to the output that one would have expected from i t were i t to demonstrate the average e f f i c i e n c y of a l l farms in u t i l i z i n g the a v a i l a b l e inputs.  The t o t a l f a c t o r  p r o d u c t i v i t i e s of d i f f e r e n t s i z e groups of farms, as reported by Hossain, are presented in Table 27. By d e f i n i t i o n , large A^ f i g u r e s i n d i c a t e greater l e v e l s of productive e f f i c i e n c y .  It can be seen from Table 27 that the s i z e  group of farms between 2.5 and 4.99 acres were the most e f f i c i e n t of 41 the various s i z e groups reported.  These farms did not, however,  c o n s t i t u t e the smallest s i z e group..  Farms which had less than 2.5  acres of land constituted the smallest.group, and these were found to be less e f f i c i e n t , in the t o t a l f a c t o r p r o d u c t i v i t y sense, than the s i z e group immediately above.  This shows that one cannot be assured  that an inverse r e l a t i o n s h i p between farm-size and productive e f f i c i e n c y w i l l continue to be found below c e r t a i n l e v e l s of farm-size when t o t a l f a c t o r p r o d u c t i v i t y i s used as the measuring s t i c k .  A p l a u s i b l e reason  f o r t h i s would be that very small farmers (such as those in Hossain's study below 2.5 acres) may not be able to use a l l a v a i l a b l e resources to the f u l l e s t extent on t h e i r lands due to the smallness of t h e i r holdings.  It should be noted that the s i z e groups of farms reported in Table 27 were much smaller than those in Tables 25 and 26.  202 Table 27. Total Factor P r o d u c t i v i t y of Farms of D i f f e r e n t Sizes in the Thana of Phulpur, 1969-70  Total Factor P r o d u c t i v i t y Index (A.)  Size-Group of Farms (acres)  Up to 2.49  0.99  2.5 - 4.99  1.08  5.0 - 7.49  1.05  7.5 and over  0.82  Source:  M. Hossain, 'Farm Size and P r o d u c t i v i t y in Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r e : A Case Study of Phulpur Farms', Bangladesh  Economic  January 1974, p. 490.  Review,  Vol.  II,  No.  1,  Macro-dynamic analysis Theoretical premise Farm e f f i c i e n c y considered in a dynamic context r e f e r s e s s e n t i a l l y to i t s a b i l i t y to generate savings f o r making necessary investments and f o r adopting newer technologies to f a c i l i t a t e f u r t h e r growth.  With  regard to p r o d u c t i v i t y , the emphasis s h i f t s from what gets produced per acre of farms under given circumstances to what could be produced under  203  d i f f e r e n t sets of circumstances which might be introduced.  In the  words of Bhagwati and Chakravarty, " . . . we should emphasize that the ranking by p r i v a t e and s o c i a l p r o f i t a b i l i t y of the farms by s i z e classes may diverge from t h e i r ranking by acreage p r o d u c t i v i t y . Also the s t a t i c e f f i c i e n c y of the smaller farms, i f demonstrated, may be consistent with t h e i r dynamic i n e f f i c i e n c y from the viewpoint of savings, investment and innovation."42 The question of "savings, investment and innovation" i s highly important, f o r example, in evaluating prospects f o r the successful adoption of the technology involved with. HYVs, which require high expenditures on inputs such as chemical . f e r t i 1 i z e r s , c o n t r o l l e d water supply and p e s t i c i d e s .  Although i t i s true that these inputs are  d i v i s i b l e to a c e r t a i n extent, smaller farmers may not be able to generate enough income to be able to make adequate investments in 43 these r e l a t i v e l y c o s t l y inputs.  The poor economic condition of  these farmers would l i k e l y be r e f l e c t e d in stronger tendencies toward r i s k aversion.  Since the newer plant v a r i e t i e s are more prone to  diseases, smaller farms often prefer to avoid the r i s k s involved. Under such circumstances, adoption of HYVs (or some range of comparable technology) and hence marketable surplus, can be expected to remain low.  J . Bhagwati, and S. Chakravarty, 'Contributions to Indian Economic A n a l y s i s : A Survey', American Economic Review, Vol. LIX, No. 4, September 1969, p. 44. In t h i s context i t i s useful to make note of the biases of technology discussed in Chapter II,  204 Two other considerations are important in the macro-dynamic context.  F i r s t i s the l e v e l of u t i l i z a t i o n of a v a i l a b l e resources  from the point of view of the society as a whole.  Underemployment  of manpower in small farms can be taken as a source of output loss in t h i s context, e s p e c i a l l y since the r e l a t i v e l y l a r g e r farms could have been c u l t i v a t e d more i n t e n s i v e l y with the help of that labour. If the f u l l  'market v a l u e ' of inputs supplied by the household i s  included in the cost of operation then the net income generated by small farms would decline sharply and the m i c r o - s t a t i c analysis of the previous section would not hold t o t a l l y t r u e .  The second  consideration r e l a t e s to the question of the long-term v i a b i l i t y of the system as a whole.  In places where land s c a r c i t y i s coupled  with the custom of subdividing holdings among h e i r s , a s i t u a t i o n i s bound to emerge over time where the extent of p a r c e l i z a t i o n of land i n small farms becomes so great that a t y p i c a l household cannot generate enough income from i t s land to s a t i s f y family consumption needs and s t i l l be l e f t with enough resources to invest in measures aimed at improving conditions of farming.  Empirical  findings  In Bangladesh most c u l t i v a b l e land remains under low y i e l d i n g t r a d i t i o n a l v a r i e t i e s of crops, although a switch to the HYVs could more than double the p r o d u c t i v i t y achieved with t r a d i t i o n a l v a r i e t i e s . Table 28 depicts the s i t u a t i o n as i t existed during 1972-73.  205 Table 28.  Acreage and Y i e l d of T r a d i t i o n a l and High Y i e l d i n g V a r i e t i e s of Rice i n Bangladesh, 1972-73  Acreage  Rice V a r i e t y  Traditional variety High y i e l d i n g variety  Source:  Yield (maunds per acre)  21,165,000  10.87  2,632,000  26.83  Government of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Agriculture Statistics, Dacca: M i n i s t r y of A g r i c u l t u r e , November, 1973.  in  According to a study done i n 1971 the gross cost of producing HYVs per acre of land was Rs. 644.49, whereas the gross cost of 44 producing l o c a l v a r i e t i e s per acre worked out to be Rs. 446.39. In the face of such a cost d i f f e r e n t i a l the r e l a t i v e l y l a n d - r i c h farmers could.adoptl'the HV.Ys more r e a d i l y than others.  Seventy-three  p e r c e n t of farms which adopted HYVs had more than 2.5 acres of land. These farms constituted only about a quarter of a l l farms i n Bangladesh. Two f a c t s are evident from the reported data: ( i ) a vast majority of farms have not adopted the HYVs,  See M.I. Khan, 'The Role of IR-20 i n Solving the Food Problem of East P a k i s t a n , Pakistan Development Review, Spring 1971. :  1  206  (ii)  r e l a t i v e l y small farms c u l t i v a t e d the HYVs less than the r e l a t i v e l y large farms.  The i n a b i l i t y of so many farmers to adopt the new technology of HYVs has been one of the major, reasons f o r low l e v e l s of 45  p r o d u c t i v i t y in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e .  Since adoption was mainly  r e s t r i c t e d to the r e l a t i v e l y large farms, the d i s p a r i t y of incomeearning opportunities between small and large farms has s i g n i f i c a n t l y widened.  Government pronouncements l i k e the f o l l o w i n g have admitted  that the i n t r o d u c t i o n of HYVs .in Bangladesh has been associated with these trends, f o r example, " . . . r i s k - p e r c e p t i o n of the small farmers f o r the recurring f l o o d s , poor and marginal resource-base of the majority farmers and t h e i r fragmented holdings, resulted in slow adoption rates of the new technology. The early adopters, the more a f f l u e n t farmers, took advantage of the s i t u a t i o n and the process of concentration of land i n a few hands started in 1966 . . . " 4 6  The conclusion seems inescapable that the macro-dynamic e f f i c i e n c y in the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector of Bangladesh has suffered because of the i n a b i l i t y of the vast majority of small farms to adopt the new technology.  It i s true that the HYVs would be less preferable on grounds of taste.considerations as w e l l . However, given the acute poverty of so many farmers, t h i s would not be a major v a r i a b l e determining the rate of adoptionrof the HYVs which had such a promise of r a i s i n g the l e v e l of output. Government of Bangladesh, 'Text of Z i a ' s Speech at FAO Conference on Agrarian Reform'and Rural Development', Bangladesh, Vol. I l l , No. 2, Aug. 1979, p. 5.  207  Table 29.  Percentage of Output Supplied to the Market by D i f f e r e n t Sizes of Farms in Bangladesh, 1960  Size-Group of Farms (acres)  Marketed Surplus as Percentage of Quantity Produced  Below  2.5  6.2  2.5 -  4.9  8.2  5.0 -  7.4  10.5  7.5 -  12.5  11.4  Above  12.5  12.7  Source:  Government of Pakistan, Family Expenditure Schedule: Karachi: Central S t a t i s t i c a l O f f i c e , 1960.  Many small farms did not have the means to produce enough to s a t i s f y family consumption needs, l e t alone supply substantial amounts of t h e i r product to the market.  A c l e a r inverse r e l a t i o n s h i p between  farm s i z e and marketed surplus in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e would be expected, and can be observed in Table 29. Loss of marketable surplus has, t h e r e f o r e , been another source of macro-dynamic i n e f f i c i e n c y of e x i s t i n g s i z e - d i s t r i b u t i o n of farms. An important concept in the analysis of i n p u t - u t i l i z a t i o n in a macro-dynamic context i s the plough u n i t , which, as noted e a r l i e r (page 181), was defined by Khusro as the area which can adequately  208 employ a pair of b u l l o c k s .  47  In the absence of a well developed  market f o r h i r i n g animal power there w i l l be u n d e r - u t i 1 i z a t i o n of t h i s source of power i n farms which are below t h i s plough u n i t .  48  If one accepts Khusro's f i g u r e of plough unit f o r West Bengal (5 acres) as appropriate f o r Bangladesh then, according to the 1977 Land Occupancy Survey,more than 57% of the t o t a l farmland at that 49 time was held in units smaller than the plough u n i t .  This would  c e r t a i n l y e n t a i l a great loss of e f f i c i e n c y at the macro l e v e l since the market f o r h i r i n g animal power i n Bangladesh, though not absent, i s f a i r l y l i m i t e d and u n r e l i a b l e . In Bangladesh the growth of population and the p r a c t i c e of subdividing a g r i c u l t u r a l holdings among heirs has s i g n i f i c a n t l y reduced 50 average farm-size over the years.  That the p a r c e l i z a t i o n of farm  units w i l l become more serious i f . t h e present system i s l e f t unattended i s obvious.  The very t i n y farm households would then be l e f t with  A.M. Khusro, 'Farm Size and Land Tenure i n I n d i a ' , Indian Review, V o l . IV, (New S e r i e s ) , 1969.  Economic  Lower productive e f f i c i e n c y of very small farms as evidenced i n the t o t a l f a c t o r p r o d u c t i v i t y analysis of the preceding section i s worth noting i n t h i s regard. For the plough unit i n West Bengal see Khusro (1973) p. 51.  op.cit.,  Thus the average farm-size came down from 3.1 acres i n 1968 t o 2.3 acres i n 1977. See (1) Government of Bangladesh, Master Survey of Agriculture in Bangladesh, Seventh Round, Second Phase (1967-68), Dacca: Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , (undated); and (2) Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report  Rural  Bangladesh,  Dacca:  of the 1977 Land Occupancy  Survey of  Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  209 i n s u f f i c i e n t land to effectively.employ a l l f a m i l y labour on i t and would be unable to obtain an income s u f f i c i e n t to meet consumption needs in a d d i t i o n to investment requirements f o r improving and d i v e r s i f y i n g farming a c t i v i t i e s .  Therefore, i t w i l l be d i f f i c u l t f o r  them to keep up with the demands of the growing number of dependents per unit of land.  This long run ' n o n - v i a b i l i t y ' of s m a l l - s i z e d  family farming in Bangladesh represents an ominous portent of the dynamic i n e f f i c i e n c y of small farming in the country.  Conclusion  Although a more d e t a i l e d . s e t of information than was a v a i l a b l e would be required to f u l l y understand a l l the problems emerging out of the size-tenure structure in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , the discussion in t h i s chapter has, nevertheless, outlined the major obstacles to a g r i c u l t u r a l development r e s u l t i n g from the e x i s t i n g s t r u c t u r e . The size-tenure structure in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e has been found to be responsible f o r much of the d i s p a r i t i e s in income-earning opportunities of d i f f e r e n t households.,  With regard to productive  e f f i c i e n c y , i t has been demonstrated that sharecropping tenancy, when compared with owner c u l t i v a t i o n i n a m i c r o - s t a t i c context, i s  likely  to r e s u l t in a less intensive u t i l i z a t i o n of a v a i l a b l e resources, and a lower l e v e l of output per unit of land i f the farms renting i n land  210 operate above the level of ' s u b s i s t e n c e ' .  As these tenant farms  get smaller, they f i n d i t necessary to c u l t i v a t e a l l land (owned and rented) with more vigour to meet family needs.  Consequently,  rented land under very small farms has been observed to be c u l t i v a t e d with an e f f i c i e n c y that did not lag behind the e f f i c i e n c y demonstrated by owner-cultivators who had s i m i l a r resource endowments.  However,  since the macro-dynamic e f f i c i e n c y remains rather low f o r both sharecropping and owner c u l t i v a t i o n in Bangladesh, and seems l i k e l y to d e t e r i o r a t e over time, the more important observation in t h i s regard would be that neither of these arrangements can cater to the long-term needs of the country. As regards the question of f a r m - s i z e , the apparent r e l a t i v e micros t a t i c e f f i c i e n c y of farms in the s m a l l e r c a t e g o r i e s , measured in :  p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land at a point in time, does not meet the long-term requirements of (a) creating s u f f i c i e n t e f f e c t i v e employment opportunities f o r the growing labour f o r c e , (b) encouraging adoption of newer technologies l i k e the HYVs and (c) generating l a r g e r marketable surpluses f o r purposes of savings and investments. The p o l i c y i m p l i c a t i o n s of these findings can be viewed both in terms of short run and long run requirements.  Equity considerations  point to the necessity of adopting, as e a r l y as p o s s i b l e , p o l i c i e s which can reduce d i s p a r i t i e s i n land ownership in the areas of highly 51  skewed ownership patterns. '  In the short run, i t i s also necessary  As Table 14 (page 127) i n d i c a t e d , the problem of d i s p a r i t y in land ownership was most acute in the northwestern d i s t r i c t s of Dinajpur, Rajshahi and Kushtia.  211 to adopt p o l i c i e s which can replace sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n by owner c u l t i v a t i o n in the areas of high tenancy f o r a t t a i n i n g 52 greater e q u i t y a n d r a i s i n g the general l e v e l of p r o d u c t i v i t y . However, long run considerations require that a l t e r n a t i v e arrangements of size-tenure structure (as d i s t i n c t from the t r a d i t i o n a l small-scale owner c u l t i v a t i o n or tenant c u l t i v a t i o n ) be found to create a v i a b l e a g r i c u l t u r a l sector in the country. What a l t e r n a t i v e s can best serve the purpose of r e c o n c i l i n g these short run goals with the long run goals i s the subject of the chapter that f o l l o w s .  Looking at Chart 1 (p. 132), Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Kushtia and Khulna being the d i s t r i c t s with the highest l e v e l s of sharecropping tenancy in the country, such a p o l i c y would mainly be concentrated in those areas.  212  V.  LAND REFORM FOR BANGLADESH  Why Land Reform in Bangladesh?  As stated in the introductory chapter, Bangladesh i s p r i m a r i l y an a g r i c u l t u r a l country.  The nature of income d i s t r i b u t i o n and  level of p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land or labour in the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector determine whether the country w i l l be capable of f i n d i n g a development path which has the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c features of " r e d i s t r i b u t i o n with growth" needed f o r long run economic and political viability.^  The discussion on the problems of size-tenure  structure contained in the previous chapter points to the necessity for  a l t e r i n g the agrarian structure i f the dual goals of equalizing  income-earning opportunities and r a i s i n g the l e v e l of p r o d u c t i v i t y are to be achieved. Almost a t h i r d of r u r a l households  in Bangladesh are landless.  Most of them have t o earn t h e i r l i v i n g by searching f o r opportunities to s e l l t h e i r labour, often on a day-to-day b a s i s , in the wage market. Very few of them manage to obtain access to the lands of others as  The term " r e d i s t r i b u t i o n with growth" i s borrowed from the t i t l e of a book which marked a r e o r i e n t a t i o n in conceptualizing the requirements of development. See H. Chenery et al., Redistribution With Growth, London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1974..  213 sharecroppers f o r reasons discussed e a r l i e r in the study.  2  When  one looks only at land-owning households, the interhousehold d i s p a r i t y in ownership of land also i s very high.  Of a l l the  households which owned some farmland during 1977, 67% belonged 3 to the s i z e group with 2 acres or l e s s . about 25% of a l l a v a i l a b l e farmland.  They accounted f o r only  Ownership units with more  than 10 acres of farmland, on the other hand, although representing only 2.6% of a l l households which owned some farmland, accounted f o r almost a f i f t h of a l l a v a i l a b l e farmland.  Income-earning opportunities  in a heavily populated a g r i c u l t u r a l society based on t r a d i t i o n a l technology are strongly influenced by the land ownership status of the contending households.  Thus, a highly skewed d i s t r i b u t i o n of  income has resulted among the various households in the r u r a l sector of Bangladesh. Chapter II,  In terms of the conceptual framework suggested in  one can r e a d i l y argue that s i g n i f i c a n t reductions in  income i n e q u a l i t y in Bangladesh can only be achieved through changes i n the patterns of land ownership and tenure arrangements. With regard to the r e l a t i v e productive e f f i c i e n c y of d i f f e r e n t farm sizes and tenure-categories, the present study has led to the conclusion that one cannot hope to r a i s e l e v e l s of p r o d u c t i v i t y per  See p. 103. These, and the subsequent f i g u r e s f o r 1977 used in t h i s chapter, are taken from Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report of the 197? Land Occupancy  Survey  Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  of Rural  Bangladesh,  Dacca: Bangladesh  214 unit of land or labour in e i t h e r the m i c r o - s t a t i c or macro-dynamic context without making modifications in e x i s t i n g size-tenure 4 structures in Bangladesh.  Neither the employment s i t u a t i o n nor the  technological choices emerging out of e x i s t i n g size-tenure structures are conducive to sustained long-term growth or improved equity outcomes-.  To achieve these ends i t i s necessary to adopt a p o l i c y of  more e f f e c t i v e u t i l i z a t i o n . o f e x i s t i n g resources which i s conducive to both employment expansion and technological The findings of Chapters III  progress.  and IV ( b r i e f l y r e c a p i t u l a t e d above)  can help answer three sets of questions concerning the r e q u i s i t e components (or d e f i n i t i o n ) of land reform in the context of Bangladesh. These questions r e l a t e d to the stage of development of the country, the patterns of size-tenure s t r u c t u r e , and the nature of the most pressing problem in the man-land r e l a t i o n s h i p in the country.  The  pattern of size-tenure structure in Bangladesh poses some c r i t i c a l constraints upon simultaneously a t t a i n i n g more equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n of income and increased p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land and labour. The components of land reform f o r Bangladesh, as suggested by the findings so f a r , can be put together in the f o l l o w i n g formulation: A land reform programme f o r Bangladesh which seeks to a t t a i n broader equity in access to land, and increased p r o d u c t i v i t y (per unit of land and labour)  See Chapter IV, pp. 209-211.  215 needs to incorporate, at a minimum, p o l i c i e s aimed at removing t e n u r i a l d i s i n c e n t i v e s and s i z e - d i s a b i l i t i e s of farm units under e x i s t i n g arrangements.^ The l i k e l y effectiveness of each of the series of a l t e r n a t i v e proposals, or 'models' of land reform developed in Chapter II  will  now be considered in turn in the context of Bangladesh.  Problems and Prospects of Various Models  (i)  R e d i s t r i b u t i v i s t Reform. Proponents of t h i s type of land reform suggest a low c e i l i n g be  l e g i s l a t e d on the permissible s i z e of holding of a f a m i l y .  'Surplus'  land generated by implementing the c e i l i n g i s to be d i s t r i b u t e d among the land-poor t o enhance t h e i r economic o p p o r t u n i t i e s .  It  is  suggested that by making more land a v a i l a b l e to the small farmers and landless households, where there i s an abundance of family labour, one can hope f o r more intensive c u l t i v a t i o n of a greater proportion of  The term 'access to l a n d ' rather than 'ownership of l a n d i s used here to cover a l t e r n a t i v e p o s s i b i l i t i e s in a t t a i n i n g equity in the use of a g r i c u l t u r a l land: An equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n of land ownership among i n d i v i d u a l households i s only one of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s . It has been considered important to look i n t o other p o s s i b i l i t i e s in achieving the desired equity. 1  216 t o t a l land.  It i s argued t h a t , when coupled with appropriate  extension s e r v i c e s , t h i s would help achieve the important o b j e c t i v e of increasing the level of production. An examination of what c e i l i n g on land might be necessary to achieve an appreciable measure of equity in rural Bangladesh, s t a r t i n g from the e x i s t i n g context of land ownership patterns, i s in order.  Table 30 contains information on the ' s u r p l u s '  land that  could have been generated in 1977 by imposing d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of c e i l i n g s on the land ownership of a f a m i l y .  As t h i s t a b l e shows,  i f a c e i l i n g as low as 4 acres were set on land, and the  'surplus'  generated was d i s t r i b u t e d among the landless households and'those with 1 acre of land or l e s s , the average s i z e of farm f o r the r e c i p i e n t s of land would s t i l l remain below 1 acre.^  If a l l of them  received the same amount of land then the landless would be l e f t with only .71 acres.  If they used part of t h i s land f o r homestead  (average area of homestead in r u r a l Bangladesh being about .18 a c r e s ) , they would be l e f t with a l i t t l e over h a l f an acre each f o r purposes  A 4-acre c e i l i n g can be considered a low one in the l i g h t of the previous discussion on. a plough unit in Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e (see p. 2 ). A l s o , i t i s much lower than what some other scholars have recommended. Khan, f o r example, suggested a c e i l i n g of 7.5 acres, while Zaman c a l l e d f o r an 8-acre c e i l i n g ; see Khan (1972), op.eit., p. 142, and Zaman (1975), op.ait. p. 103. 3  Table 30  Possible C e i l i n g s on Land and Consequences of D i s t r i b u t i n g the ' S u r p l u s ' Land Among the Landless and Small Land Owners (owning 1 acre or l e s s ) i n Bangladesh, 1977  Ceiling (acres)  Percentage of Families Having t o Surrender Some Land  ' Surplus' Land (acres)  Average Size of the Ownership Units of the Recipients After Distribution  Amount Received by Each Landless.Family (acres)  P o s t - D i s t r i b u t i o n Average Size of Ownership Units of Those Who Previously Owned Small (1 acre or Less) Land Areas (acres)  2  25.06  8,820,086  1.46  1.27  1.50  3  16.15  6,465,775  1.12  0.93  1.16  4  10.88  4,896,299  0.89  0.71  0.94  5  7.59  3,812,309  0.74  0.55  0.78  6  4.07  3,063,154  0.63  0.44  0.67  7  3.64  2,497,365  0.55  0.36  0.59  Source:  Government of Bangladesh, Summary Report of the 1977 Land Oaoupany Survey of Rural  Dacca:  Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1977.  Bangladesh,  218 of c u l t i v a t i o n .  If a reform programme such as t h i s i s implemented,  the country w i l l be l e f t with a s i t u a t i o n where about h a l f of i t s c u l t i v a b l e land would be held in farms sized 2 acres or l e s s . It has been shown in Chapter II that i f land i s taken from the r e l a t i v e l y large land owners, and d i s t r i b u t e d among r e l a t i v e l y small land owners, the welfare of the landless wage labour may decline as demand f o r t h e i r services i s c u r t a i l e d by s h i f t i n g land from those who depend heavily on wage-labour t o those with f a m i l y labour s u f f i c i e n t to c u l t i v a t e most or a l l of the newly received land.  Even where the landless gain ownership of land through the  r e d i s t r i b u t i o n programme, t h e i r o v e r a l l s i t u a t i o n may s t i l l d e t e r i o r a t e i f t h e i r income from the land i s less than the amount they lose from .. sources which were a v a i l a b l e before the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n .  Before the  r e d i s t r i b u t i o n , members of landless households could have been earning t h e i r l i v e l i h o o d s by working, as pure tenants, or wage labourers, or both.  Implementation of a low c e i l i n g on land may prompt many of  those farm f a m i l i e s which previously had land in excess of the c e i l i n g , and which used to rent out some of the owned l a n d , to bring part or a l l of that land under t h e i r own c u l t i v a t i o n since family labour would become more abundant r e l a t i v e to a v a i l a b l e farm land under the changed circumstances.  This w i l l adversely a f f e c t the previous tenants who  might have been b e t t e r o f f as tenants than as r e c i p i e n t s of very small fragments of land.  219 One should r e a l i z e that the taking away of some land from households owning more than the c e i l i n g w i l l normally involve payment of compensation to the dispossessed.  Nothing short of  a t o t a l agrarian r e v o l u t i o n can r e s u l t in zero compensation being required.  Compensation, whatever i t s amount may be, has to be  provided by the new r e c i p i e n t s of land in one way or another.  To  ease the burden of payment of t h i s compensation two suggestions are generally made.  7  ( i ) that the compensation be paid i n terms of a f i x e d percentage of y i e l d (an average y i e l d f i g u r e i s to be used f o r t h i s purpose) of the land, ( i i ) that the payment be staggered over a period.of years. The f i r s t suggestion i s based on the recognition of the f a c t that i f percentages of actual y i e l d (rather than average y i e l d ) are demanded as instalments by which the t o t a l p r i c e of land i s to be p a i d , one would probably create d i s i n c e n t i v e s s i m i l a r t o those associated with sharecropping.tenancy.  The suggestion of staggered  payment i s made to f u r t h e r l i g h t e n the burden on new occupants.  Two  f a c t o r s w i l l play important roles i n determining the period of time  See in t h i s regard Khan (1972), op.cit.,  pp. 140-141.  220 over which the payment can be spread out: ( i ) the surplus income that the r e c i p i e n t s of land can earn over and above family requirements w i t h i n . t h e period of each instalment and the ease with which t h i s can be 'captured' f o r compensation purposes, ( i i ) the a b i l i t y and i n t e n t i o n of the government to secure wi11ingness of the r e c i p i e n t s of compensation to accept delayed payments. Even a ' r a d i c a l ' programme of land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n in Bangladesh, however, i s not l i k e l y to create a s i t u a t i o n where most of the farms would be able t o generate s i g n i f i c a n t surpluses over and above family needs.  If the c e i l i n g i s set at the low l e v e l of 4 acres, and the  'surplus'  land i s d i s t r i b u t e d equally among a l l the landless and  owners of less than one acre of land then * as Table 30 shows, the r e c i p i e n t s of land would be l e f t with an average ownership unit of only .89 acre.  These small farms would c o n s t i t u t e over h a l f (58.51%)  of a l l farms in Bangladesh.  Owners of such farms can hardly be  expected to come up with much of a.marketable surplus to make compensation payments. Table 30 shows that 10.88% of rural households would have to surrender some amount of land i f the 4-acre c e i l i n g i s imposed. Although apparently small in proportion to t o t a l population, these  221 households would be able to create a powerful opposition to any l e g i s l a t i o n suggesting such a c e i l i n g .  Even i f the c e i l i n g were  to be l e g i s l a t e d , the experiences of other countries suggest that its  implementation would be very d i f f i c u l t .  It i s i n s t r u c t i v e t o  note F r a n k e l ' s comments on the Indian experience: "In r e t r o s p e c t , i t was probably i n e v i t a b l e that a development strategy r e q u i r i n g extensive land reform and i n s t i t u t i o n a l change as preconditions for success should meet with powerful opposition from landed groups; and that in a p o l i t i c a l democracy, where landowning i n t e r e s t s are h e a v i l y represented in the l e g i s l a t u r e s , t h i s resistance should manifest i t s e l f in a go-slow approach toward agrarian reform. ... most l e g i s l a t i o n on tenancy reform and c e i l i n g s on 1andownership had not been e f f e c t i v e l y implemented."9 Another point to consider i s that compensation demanded by the d i s a f f e c t e d land owners f o r any surrendered land would l i k e l y be very high i f they are in a p o s i t i o n to influence government decision's on t h i s matter.  Consequently, so would be the p r i c e that r e c i p i e n t s of  the ' s u r p l u s '  land i n a r e d i s t r i b u t i v i s t programme would have to pay.  In t h i s regard, one may r e f e r back to the information on the landholding status of the p o l i t i c a l l y dominant i n Bangladesh, which has been reported i n Chapter III, pp. 87, 91. F.R.  Frankel, India's  Political  Costs,  Green Revolution:  Princeton:  Economic  Gains  and  Princeton U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1972, p. 4.  Note here that in the aftermath of l e g i s l a t i o n s in what was then East high compensation. Therefore, the meant higher prices f o r land. See  the zamindari system, c e i l i n g Pakistan were associated with subsequent r e d i s t r i b u t i o n Chapter I I I , p. 83.  222 This would r e s u l t i n a s i t u a t i o n where the r e l a t i v e l y w e l l - t o - d o among e l i g i b l e r e c i p i e n t s of land would obtain the bulk of the 'surplus'  leaving very l i t t l e f o r poorer  households.  The problem of high compensation and the subsequent high p r i c e for the ' s u r p l u s '  land might be reduced i f the power-elite f i n d s  an a l t e r n a t e power-base to the l a n d - r i c h c l a s s .  Such was the case  during the implementation of the land reform programme i n Japan during the l a t e 1940'sJV  By that reform, land owners having land  in excess of 2.5 acres were made t o s e l l the ' s u r p l u s ' t o the government.  The p r i c e that they received f o r t h e i r land was extremely  low compared to standard market rates of that time.  This was possible  because the p o l i t i c a l leverage exercised by the r e l a t i v e l y l a n d - r i c h farmers declined s i g n i f i c a n t l y over the years a f t e r the Japanese peasantry was freed from feudal bondage by the reform of 1868. The rapid pace of i n d u s t r i a l development replaced the predominance of r i c h land owners i n p o l i t i c s by a r i c h class w i t h i n the u r b a n - i n d u s t r i a l sector.  This allowed the government t o get away with paying only  nominal compensation to the d i s a f f e c t e d farm f a m i l i e s .  The power-elite  in Bangladesh, however, seem not to have any such a l t e r n a t e power-base and, hence, no d r a s t i c measures which adversely a f f e c t the l a n d - r i c h can be expected from them.  See World Bank, Land Reform:  D.C., May 1975, p. 65.  Sector  Policy  Paper,  Washington,  223 Even i f the 4-acre c e i l i n g on land i s duly implemented and the proposed r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land i s c a r r i e d out, there would still  remain an appreciable degree of d i s p a r i t y . i n the pattern of  land ownership.  About 59% of a l l farms would be l e f t with less  than 1 acre of land, whereas about 11% of households would continue to r e t a i n 4 acres of land.  The smallest of the land owners may  f i n d i t very d i f f i c u l t to hold onto t h e i r land f o r very long. Various emergencies may force them to s e l l o f f t h e i r land to those 12 who can a f f o r d to buy i t .  Therefore, i n the course of time, one  i s l i k e l y to f i n d that the t o t a l e f f e c t of the kind of reform d i s cussed above has been rather n e g l i g i b l e . If the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land i s made only among very small land owners, and not the l a n d l e s s , the problem of too t h i n a d i s t r i b u t i o n may be reduced.  But i t has already been noted that  t h i s kind of r e d i s t r i b u t i o n may worsen the condition of the landless the poorest among the r u r a l population.  —  Such an approach would defeat  Some evidence of such emergency sales has been provided by Karim, who, in a family case-study of a landless labourer, found that the family had some land i n the past which had to be sold f o r meeting medical expenses of a member of the f a m i l y . See M.R. Karim, 'Family Case Study of Md. J o i n a l A b e d i n ' , Family Case Study No. 7, in Government of Bangladesh, Proceedings of the Bangladesh FAO Workshop on the Problems  Agricultural Labourers, C o u n c i l , 1974.  of Small and Subsistence  Dacca:  Farms and  Bangladesh A g r i c u l t u r a l  Research  224 the attainment of equity which must be a major o b j e c t i v e of any land reform programme in Bangladesh.  If the objectives of higher  p r o d u c t i v i t y and increased equity are to be reconciled in  Bangladesh  a g r i c u l t u r e , one thus has to look to a l t e r n a t i v e programmes of land reform than those suggested by t h i s p a r t i c u l a r d i s t r i b u t i v i s t model.  (ii)  Reform Aimed at Cooperative Farming. Is i t possible to achieve the dual goals of equity and  p r o d u c t i v i t y by r e d i s t r i b u t i n g ' s u r p l u s '  land (obtained by imposing  an ownership c e i l i n g ) not q u i t e so t h i n l y , and then forming cooperatives to provide a n c i l l a r y functions so that none of the farms suffers a serious handicap of c r e d i t , farm machinery or other inputs?  A review  of the past experience of Bangladesh in t h i s regard i s s u f f i c i e n t to answer t h i s important question.  Experience of Bangladesh in cooperative farming A widely p u b l i c i z e d cooperative venture was launched i n the d i s t r i c t of Comilla in the e a r l y 1960's through the i n i t i a t i v e of the Pakistan Academy f o r Rural Development (PARD; now the Bangladesh Academy f o r Rural Development., BARD).  As a. p i l o t p r o j e c t , the  programme was i n i t i a l l y confined to Kotwali .thana. system of cooperation was planned.  A two-tier  Numerous primary cooperative  s o c i e t i e s were created w i t h i n v i l l a g e s , and a' thana  l e v e l central  225 cooperative society was to coordinate the a c t i v i t i e s of the village-level societies.  The f o l l o w i n g four aspects were emphasized  as the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c feature of the whole programme:  1.  Formation of A g r i c u l t u r a l S o c i e t i e s in V i l l a g e s .  13  Cooperative  The farmers were considered too numerous to be i n d i v i d u a l l y attended to by the Academy in providing them with information, assessing c r e d i t worthiness, and a l l o c a t i n g necessary inputs.  It  was thought that group r e s p o n s i b i l i t y should be created to f a c i l i t a t e such operations.  The r e s u l t  was the creation of t h e . v i l l a g e l e v e l Krishi Samiti  2.  (KSS - ' A g r i c u l t u r a l Cooperative  Samabaya  Society').  Savings and Credit. The Academy f e l t that the farmers needed inputs l i k e better seeds, chemical f e r t i l i z e r s and.pesticides to produce higher l e v e l s of output; and to afford these they would require access to c r e d i t .  Credit  a v a i l a b l e from sources such as f r i e n d s , r e l a t i v e s , and money lenders were considered inadequate.  Loans  For a d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n of these aspects see B l a i r , op. oit. pp. 29-32.  3  226 extended by the t r a d i t i o n a l money lender were found by the Academy t o be e x p l o i t a t i v e in nature.  Funds from outside sources were thus  to be provided through the KSS f o r some time so that i t could cope with the i n i t i a l demands f o r credit.  But i t was hoped that the members would  begin pooling t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l savings to a t t a i n self-sufficiency.  To ensure the generation of  savings in the KSS, every member was required to put some money, however small in amount, into an account with the society every week.  The thana-  l e v e l central society would extend loans to the members to a l e v e l TO times t h e i r t o t a l  savings.  Input Subsidies. Subsidization of inputs such as b e t t e r seeds, f e r t i l i z e r s , p e s t i c i d e s , and small power-pumps was thought to be necessary to popularize t h e i r use.  It  was hoped that subsequently, when the users of these inputs became aware of t h e i r value i n r a i s i n g p r o d u c t i v i t y , the subsidy could be removed.  227 4.  Training. Each KSS was to e l e c t a manager and a "model farmer", both of whom were to report weekly to the t f c m a - l e v e l A g r i c u l t u r a l Cooperative Federation (ACF) f o r necessary t r a i n i n g and advice.  The idea  was to avoid the problems that an extension worker, sent from the o u t s i d e , would, face in g e t t i n g due recognition among the members of a KSS.  The manager  of the KSS was given t r a i n i n g i n accounting, a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , and management.  The "model farmer"  was given advice on how to adopt new approaches to farming and newer and better technologies. The cooperative experiment i n Comilla was able t o r a i s e the l e v e l 14 of output among the members.  The basic explanation f o r t h i s was the  huge subsidies paid to the members.  In the words of B l a i r ,  "Massive and seemingly unremovable subsidies have been at the very heart of the Comilla program and a f t e r the f i r s t few years have become more and more a drain rather than a channel f o r a g r i c u l t u r a l development i n Bangladesh. To begin w i t h , the major enticement to get farmers to form a KSS i s the chance to get a.tubewell (or low-lift.pump i f t h e i r v i l l a g e i s next to a r i v e r ) ; the c a p i t a l cost of a tubewell, c u r r e n t l y reckoned at about Tk. 42,000, i s completely s u b s i d i z e d , and the operating cost (about Tk. 3,000 per year) i s almost 90 percent underwritten ..."IS  See Q.M.A. Malek, ' R i c e C u l t i v a t i o n i n Comilla Kotwali Thana: the r o l e of c o o p e r a t i v e s ' , Bangladesh Development Studies, V o l . IV, No. 3, J u l y 1976, p. 363. B l a i r , op.oit.,  p. 45.  228 It was found in 1969 that the eight years of operation of the  cooperatives required an investment of Tk. 9.3 m i l l i o n f o r  j u s t the i r r i g a t i o n and mechanization p r o j e c t s , whereas the cumulative savings of the members amounted to only about Tk.  1.6  m •i Il Tl i o n . 16 Members of the KSS were not representative of the lowest l e v e l (in terms of land ownership) of farms in the d i s t r i c t .  In 1964,  46% of the farms in Comilla had less than one acre of land, whereas, w i t h i n the cooperatives, only about 15% of the members were found to belong to t h i s low land ownership category.^  7  Only those who had at  l e a s t h a l f an acre of land were able to seek membership i n the cooperatives.  Thus, the poorest, who were landless or near l a n d l e s s ,  had no d i r e c t r o l e i n the cooperatives.  Akhtar Hameed Khan, the  founder-director of the cooperative movement i n Comilla himself stated that, " . . . i t was by no means a panacea f o r the misery of the landless. Nor was i t an attempt at r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of incomes ... i t could neither f u r n i s h f u l l employment nor lessen the d i s p a r i t y between owners of land and hired hands. In f a c t , better drainage, l i n k roads and  These data are from S.A. Rahim, Rural Development  of Subsistence  Agriculture,  Cooperatives Comilla:  and Economic Pakistan  Academy f o r Rural Development, 1972, (reported in B l a i r , p. 46).  op.cit.,  Data on the land ownership of member and non-member farms were reported i n B l a i r , op.cit., Table II (p. 15) and were o r i g i n a l l y contained i n F. Akhter, Characteristics of the Members of the Comilla Cooperatives, Comilla: Pakistan Academy f o r Rural Development, 1964.  229 i r r i g a t i o n s u b s t a n t i a l l y enhanced the value of land and i t s rent. The unearned increment of the landowners was a hundred times more than the wages earned by the 1abourers."18 The managers of the cooperatives were owners of much l a r g e r holdings than were the members.  In 1964, over 50% of the managers  had at l e a s t 3 acres of land, the corresponding f i g u r e f o r the 19 members being only 24.1%.  The r e l a t i v e l y large farmers w i t h i n  the cooperatives were found to become gradually more powerful in g e t t i n g the advantages of the cooperative programme channelled i n t h e i r own personal favour.  Data presented in Tables 31 and 32 show  that, with the passage of time, more and more of the money a v a i l a b l e as loans was. being taken up by these l a r g e r farms, thereby reducing the percentage number of the b e n e f i c i a r i e s of the c r e d i t programme.  A.H.  Khan, 'The Comilla P r o j e c t , A Personal Account',  International  Development  Review,  V o l . XVI,  No. 3, 1974,  p.  Data contained in Akhter, op.oit., and reported in B l a i r , op.ait., p. 15. B l a i r f u r t h e r reports that in 1970 Mannan found over 53% of the managers to have ownership u n i t s sized over 5 acres. See B l a i r , op.oit., p. 15; o r i g i n a l  data in M.A. Mannan, Rural Leadership and Its Emerging Pattern in Bangladesh (With Special Reference to Comilla  Kotwali Thana), Comilla: Development, 1972.  Bangladesh Academy f o r Rural  5.  230 Table 31.  Size of Farm and Per Capita Indebtedness in the Comilla Cooperatives, 1969  Per Capita Indebtedness  Size of Farm  (Taka)  85  Up to 1 acre 1 - 3 acres  1391  3 acres or more  3112 .  Source:  Table 32.  A.A.  Khan, Rural  Credit  Programme of A g r i c u l t u r a l  Cooperative Federation, C o m i l l a : Bangladesh Academy f o r Rural Development, 1971, (reported in A.R. Khan, 'The Comilla Model and the Integrated Rural Development Programme of Bangladesh: An Experiment in .'Cooperative C a p i t a l i s m ' , World Development, Vol': 7, No. 4/5, April/May 1979. Table, 14, p.. 412).  Percentage of the Members of Kotwali Thana KSSs Getting Loans (various years)  Percentage of Members Getting Loan  Year  1966-67  84.0  1968-69  70.1  1969-70  34.1  1970-71  33.5  Source:  Pakistan Academy f o r Rural Development, Twelfth Annual Report, 1970-71, C o m i l l a , (reported in H.W. B l a i r , The Elusiveness  of Equity:  I n s t i t u t i o n a l Approaches  to  Rural Development in Bangladesh, Ithaca: Rural Development Committee, Cornell U n i v e r s i t y , T974,. p. 56).  231 Defaults i n repayment of loans was greater among the ones who borrowed r e l a t i v e l y l a r g e r sums of money.  While 15% of the  loans of up to Tk. 500 were reported to have been overdue i n 1971, loans which were over Tk. 2,500 each had an overdue percentage of 27.5.  This shows that a large number of the r e l a t i v e l y r i c h members  of the cooperatives were able to serve t h e i r personal i n t e r e s t s at the cost of those of the cooperatives. The managers of the cooperatives were also found to show more i n t e r e s t i n u t i l i z i n g t h e i r p o s i t i o n f o r personal gain than f o r the betterment of the members.  The manager's 'domain of misdeeds'  has  •been o u t l i n e d in a comment made by Hussain, "How many things can a manager do to damage his society? He can steal money. He can juggle the accounts. He can hide the s o c i e t y ' s records from the members. He can take the l i o n ' s share of the loan i n his own name and i n the names of his sons. He can cause the society to f a l l i n t o arrears. He can show incompetence i n organizing j o i n t p r o j e c t s . And he can carry out a l l these misdemeanors with imperturbable disdain f o r law . . . The manager of Durgapur  all  of these  things."20  was doing a l l  (Emphasis mine.)  The i n e v i t a b l e conclusion of the discussion on Comilla cooperatives c a r r i e d out above i s that the programme suffered from a basic c o n t r a d i c t i o n between the existence of unequal p r i v a t e land ownership among the members and the supposition of equal access to opportunities made a v a i l a b l e by the cooperatives.  M.Z. Hussain, A Field Investigation Cooperatives in Comilla Experimental  into, the Management of Village Area, Comilla: Pakistan  Academy f o r Rural Development, 1966, (quoted i n B l a i r , pp. 60-61).  op.oit.,  232 The Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), which has been introduced in several other d i s t r i c t s since Bangladesh came into being, i s designed a f t e r the Comilla model.  It has  combined the Comilla type cooperatives with the new production technology of the HYVs. the  A document published by the IRDP o u t l i n e s  objective of the programme in the f o l l o w i n g words, "The cooperatives have been envisaged as a v e h i c l e for economic development enabling the farmers to r a l l y together f o r protecting, themselves from domination by l a n d l o r d s , money-lenders of a semifeudal society to develop a new leadership f o r challenging the t r a d i t i o n a l vested i n t e r e s t s . " 2 1 However, t h i s document i t s e l f states that the Integrated Rural  Development Programme " w i l l not d i r e c t l y help improve the l o t of the 22 landless farmers".  Under these circumstances, the IRDP w i l l  hardly  be able to "develop a new leadership f o r challenging the t r a d i t i o n a l vested i n t e r e s t s " .  If the experience of Comilla cooperatives i s any  i n d i c a t i o n , the more l i k e l y outcome of the programme would be to strengthen the hands of those t r a d i t i o n a l vested i n t e r e s t s .  The  reasons why one would f e e l s k e p t i c a l about the p o s s i b i l i t y of combining  Integrated Rural Development Programme, Proposals for the Five'Year Plan, Part III, Dacca, January 1973, (quoted in Abdullah et al., op. ait., p. 246). See Abdullah et al., op.cit.,  p. 247.  First  233 growth and equity by launching programmes based on the Comilla model are worth recounting.  Four important considerations in  evaluating such programmes are: (i)  the nature of access to the cooperatives enjoyed by d i f f e r e n t income groups,  (ii)  the nature of access to supplies of inputs enjoyed by these groups,  (iii)  the nature of increments i n income of the various groups as determined by ( i ) and ( i i ) above,  (iv)  the nature of disposal of the increment by various groups.  It has already been discussed how the f i r s t three of the above go against the r e l a t i v e l y small farms and the landless  households.  With regard to the disposal of the increments of income, the r e l a t i v e l y large farmers/may be expected to spend more on the education of t h e i r c h i l d r e n and invest more in trade and business. also be expected to buy more land.  However, they may  This land would mostly come from  the impoverished non-member households who may f i n d i t necessary to s e l l o f f part or a l l of t h e i r land f o r meeting various family needs. According to a study done by the Harvard Centre f o r Population Studies, " . . . a process of land agglomeration s i m i l a r to that now being witnessed in the Punjab (India)  234 appears to be the most l i k e l y outcome: the dynamic i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h i s are c l e a r . " 2 3 What the experience of cooperative farming in Bangladesh should teach one i s t h a t , without major a l t e r a t i o n s in the d i s t r i b u t i o n of access to land, cooperation among l o c a l  households  f o r solving l o c a l problems by t h e i r own i n i t i a t i v e would not be f e a s i b l e , and that the two main goals of increased p r o d u c t i v i t y and better d i s t r i b u t i o n of income would remain mutually i n c o n s i s t e n t . Success of cooperation would be possible only i f u n d e r - u t i l i z e d labour and other resources are more e f f e c t i v e l y u t i l i z e d in production a c t i v i t i e s through a pooling of a v a i l a b l e resources, and i f the income i s d i s t r i b u t e d more equitably.  If cooperation i s  l i m i t e d only to a n c i l l a r y functions then even an i n i t i a l e g a l i t a r i a n d i s t r i b u t i o n of land ownership cannot a t t a i n the goals of dynamic efficiency.  Most farms would s t i l l  be unable or u n w i l l i n g to take  the r i s k s involved in making investments necessary f o r the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector as a whole to move up to a higher production function.  In short, the problems faced by the r e d i s t r i b u t i v i s t  model in a t t a i n i n g dynamic e f f i c i e n c y would continue to e x i s t .  ( i i i ) Reform  Aimed at State Farming.  If i t were possible f o r the state to abolish ownership of land in p r i v a t e hands then problems of d i s p a r i t y a r i s i n g out of unequal d i s t r i b u t i o n , o f land ownership could obviously be done away w i t h .  Center f o r Population S t u d i e s , Bangladesh  Land, Water and Power  Study, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard U n i v e r s i t y , 1974, (quoted i n Abdullah et al., op.cit., p. 251).  235 However, state farming with wage labour would share many of the problems encountered in wage labour c u l t i v a t i o n of p r i v a t e holdings. State farming c a l l s f o r a very high degree of bureaucratic involvement by the government.  This would e s s e n t i a l l y create a  gap between those who are t o undertake the actual process of c u l t i v a t i o n and those who perform managerial f u n c t i o n s .  It w i l l be  d i f f i c u l t t o . i n s t i l l a f e e l i n g of true p a r t i c i p a t i o n among the c u l t i v a t o r s in a s i t u a t i o n where the ' d i s t a n t ' state apparatus the primary entrepreneur.  is  Even i f the government wanted to secure  p a r t i c i p a t i o n of l o c a l p e o p l e in management, the majority of c u l t i v a t o r s would s t i l l f e e l remote from.the management since only previously l a n d - r i c h households can be expected to have members in t h e i r f a m i l i e s educated enough to perform the managerial  functions.  In f a c t , t h i s could operate as a new source of intergroup d i s p a r i t y w i t h i n the r u r a l areas. Although the purpose of the state farms may be to exercise greater government control over farming a c t i v i t i e s i n order to a t t a i n equity and p r o d u c t i v i t y , the v a s t l y scattered  farm-households  in Bangladesh w i l l not lend themselves e a s i l y to bureaucratic management by outside agents.  When the government o u t l i n e s i t s plan  to n a t i o n a l i z e a l l land i n t o state farms, opposition can be expected to come not only from the r e l a t i v e l y . l a r g e farms but also from small ones.  The large farmers do not want to give up the p r i v i l e g e d p o s i t i o n  236 they enjoy; they would stand to lose the basis of t h e i r economic, p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l domination i n the event of a state takeover, as t h e i r r o l e as patrons would no more be i n existence.  Opposition  from the r e l a t i v e l y smaller farms, on the other hand, would a r i s e from in-bred suspicions towards government actions r e s u l t i n g from t h e i r abuse by p u b l i c bodies in the past, and t h e i r observation that r e l a t i v e l y large land owners have been able to influence p u b l i c projects in ways which have taken away some of the benefits o r i g i n a l l y 24 meant f o r the poor.  The sense of s e c u r i t y enjoyed by a land owner,  however small the ownership unit may be, cannot be adequately 25 compensated f o r by turning him into a wage labourer of a state farm. State farming w i l l tend to r e l y heavily on public borrowing to t i d e over various problems of farming.  It has been discussed i n the  previous section how government involvement in the Comilla cooperative movement resulted in a high level of government s u b s i d i z a t i o n of a g r i c u l t u r a l operations there.  Subsidization of state farms can be  expected to reach even higher l e v e l s since the e n t i r e management of these farms would be the d i r e c t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of government.  State  farming, in the context of Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , would be u n l i k e l y Works Programme under the Basic Democrats during the 1960 s provides one such example. For d e t a i l s , see R. Sobhan, Basic 1  Democracies,  Works Programme and Rural  Development  in East  Pakistan, Dacca: Bureau of Economic Research, U n i v e r s i t y of Dacca, 1968, pp. 118-124. Although in Bangladesh a government job i s highly cherished as a secure source of income, i t cannot replace the sense of s e c u r i t y which i s provided by ownership of land.  237  to create work or s e l f - h e l p incentives replacing or enlarging upon those present under t r a d i t i o n a l family farming.  In such  circumstances, i t would be d i f f i c u l t to a t t a i n s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y w i t h i n the state farms; so a perpetual dependence on government would appear i n e v i t a b l e . B l a i r points out that r i s k - a v e r s i o n may be one of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c features of b u r e a u c r a t i c a l l y managed a g r i c u l t u r a l development programmes i n Bangladesh.  26  He maintains,  "In general, r i s k i s a subject treated by economists in the context of economic decision-making, but i t also has a bureaucratic dimension. Just as small farmers tend to be deterred from innovation by t h e i r c a l c u l a t i o n of r i s k , so the administrator i n a rural development programme i s v i t a l l y concerned to minimize r i s k to his own career by pleasing his superiors."27 It i s , t h e r e f o r e , probable that the bureaucracy i n charge of state farms, when faced with a choice between investing i n an undertaking which has great promise f o r a g r i c u l t u r a l growth but also high r i s k s ( f o r example, the construction of earthen embankments to hold back f l o o d s , which w i l l pay o f f by increasing the l e v e l of production only i f i t does not r a i n so much as to overflow or wash away the embankments) and one that i s r e l a t i v e l y r i s k - f r e e , though much less promising ( f o r example, a programme of more e f f e c t i v e  H.W. B l a i r , 'Rural Development, Class Structure and Bureaucracy in Bangladesh', World Development, Ibid.,  p. 73.  V o l . 6, No. 1, 1978.  238 weeding of a g r i c u l t u r a l land), would s e t t l e f o r the l a t t e r .  And  in the absence of an a t t i t u d e to bear possible r i s k s i t would be hard to move Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e away from i t s present stagnation.  ( i v ) Reform Aimed at Group Farming. In the context of the present analysis i t i s useful to f o l l o w Reed in l i s t i n g the f o l l o w i n g basic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a group 28 farming u n i t : ( i ) land and c a p i t a l assets are owned j o i n t l y by the members of the u n i t , (ii)  the bulk of the land i s c u l t i v a t e d j o i n t l y by members of the u n i t ,  (iii)  a l l members p a r t i c i p a t e in making decisions on production, d i s t r i b u t i o n and investment,  ( i v ) the products and p r o f i t s of the unit are shared among i t s members.  Problems and Prospects of I n i t i a t i o n Although the proposal of j o i n t ownership of land and c a p i t a l assets has the t h e o r e t i c a l promise of doing away with the i n e q u a l i t i e s in income a r i s i n g out of the unequal d i s t r i b u t i o n of land ownership among d i f f e r e n t households, the very i n t r o d u c t i o n of group farming p r a c t i c e s i n t o the r u r a l s o c i e t y of Bangladesh i s l i k e l y to be a formidable task.  The t r a d i t i o n of family farming i n the country w i l l  E.P. Reed, 'Introducing Group Farming i n Less Developed Countries: Some I s s u e s ' , i n P. Dorner (ed.), Cooperative and Commune: Group Farming  in the Development  of Agriculture,  of Wisconsin Press, 1977, p. 360.  Madison:  The U n i v e r s i t y  239 not r e a d i l y accept the idea of group ownership and management of assets.  Opposition to any suggestion f o r an immediate  adoption  of group farming operations i s l i k e l y to be very strong among l a n d owning households f o r reasons s i m i l a r to those already discussed under the model of state farming.  Thus one cannot expect to see  a widespread and spontaneous enthusiasm f o r group farming among these rural households.  It would be naive to believe that group  farming arrangements can accomplish j o i n t ownership of land and other c a p i t a l assets overnight.  Even under the post-revolutionary  circumstances, in China the introduction of a group farming system 29 was possible only a f t e r a number of intervening phases.  Thus,  although the p o s t - r e v o l u t i o n Chinese government was committed to the a b o l i t i o n of p r i v a t e property in land, a g r i c u l t u r e was managed, by and l a r g e , through household decisions on production and marketing of the produce u n t i l about 1954.  The gradual conversion of the  family farming system i n China i n t o communes where ownership, management and d i s t r i b u t i o n a l aspects of farming are t o t a l l y c o l l e c t i v i z e d , went through an intermediate phase i n which mutualaid teams popularized the idea of cooperation. In Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e , where the d i s t r i b u t i o n of land ownership i s very unequal, one cannot expect a convergence of i n t e r e s t s of the d i f f e r e n t households in matters of cooperation in  See United Nations, Progress New York, 1976, pp. 57-58.  in Land Reform,  Sixth Report,  240 a g r i c u l t u r a l production.  Therefore, the i n i t i a l phase toward  the establishment of group farming in Bangladesh may well require that the present skew in the d i s t r i b u t i o n of land ownership be reduced through the implementation of land c e i l i n g l e g i s l a t i o n s and the subsequent d i s t r i b u t i o n of the surplus land among the landless and the small land owners.  There has to be a simultaneous  programme f o r popularizing group farming a c t i v i t i e s among the peasantry so that the r e c i p i e n t s of land can themselves perceive the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n process as the f i r s t step towards group farming. It w i l l , however, be very d i f f i c u l t to get t h e i r voluntary support f o r such programmes unless the f i r s t few group farming units can achieve s i g n i f i c a n t success in meeting the objectives of land reform. The required c e i l i n g l e g i s l a t i o n would prove to be a d i f f i c u l t task f o r an administration which r e l i e s heavily on the r e l a t i v e l y r i c h land owners f o r p o l i t i c a l s u r v i v a l . pauperization of the households  However, with the increasing  in lower, economic c l a s s e s ,  pressures  f o r land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n w i l l l i k e l y be increasing and, as a consequence, only a government which earns legitimacy from the peasantry at large through the implementation of a programme of land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n can expect to hold power f o r any length of time. It has been seen that even a ' r a d i c a l ' land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n programme in Bangladesh would leave most of the r e c i p i e n t very small in s i z e .  households  Cooperation in a range of a c t i v i t i e s s i m i l a r to  241 what was t r i e d in Comilla could r e l a t i v e l y e a s i l y be accomplished among them.  However, when i t comes to pooling of land f o r j o i n t  c u l t i v a t i o n under group ownership, cooperation may not be so r e a d i l y forthcoming.  This would be quite natural in an environment  where land ownership has t r a d i t i o n a l l y been associated with s o c i a l and economic s e c u r i t y .  To make a dent in t h i s t r a d i t i o n i t w i l l be  necessary to f i r s t f i n d out i f there are groups w i t h i n the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector which would lend themselves to group farming operations more e a s i l y .  It would probably be easier to i n c u l c a t e  the idea of group farming among the smallest of the small farmers who, with t h e i r meagre land and other i n v e s t i b l e resources, f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to earn enough from t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l farms to meet family 30 needs.  Those who were previously landless could, f o r example, be .  considered f i r s t .  Making land d i s t r i b u t i o n to them conditional upon  t h e i r j o i n i n g the group farms may also help i n i t i a t e the programme. The landless would understandably be less opposed to such an idea than those who are ' a d d i c t e d ' by t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l ownership of land. Whether i t would be possible to induce the other land-owning .households i n t o spontaneously j o i n i n g the group farming project would, again, depend to a great, measure upon the success of the ' p i l o t ' group farming units in meeting the various objectives of a  A f t e r a ' r a d i c a l ' land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n programme i t would be harder f o r them to f i n d employment as sharecroppers or wage labourers to s u b s t i t u t e income from t h e i r own farms. See discussion in Chapter II, (pp. 34-38).  242 land reform programme in Bangladesh.  In what f o l l o w s , an attempt  i s made to evaluate the prospects of group farming in meeting these objectives f o r the country.  Whether there are ways and means in  which the problems of group farming, as revealed by the experiences of other c o u n t r i e s , can be s u c c e s s f u l l y coped with are also discussed.  Meeting the Objectives of Land Reform Equality in access to land enjoyed by the members of a group farm can help achieve the o b j e c t i v e of a more equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n of income only i f a number of conditions are met.  There has to be a  norm f o r the sharing of output based on work-performance.  In  assigning  jobs to the members, i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s have to be taken i n t o account so that these differences do not create undue d i s p a r i t i e s in the incomes earned by them.  A l s o , r o t a t i o n of tasks among i n d i v i d u a l s  have to be encouraged so that no one member f e e l s confined to a ' d i f f i c u l t task'.  To make sure that those households which have more  minors and other dependents r e l a t i v e to able-bodied adults do not s u f f e r d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y from the norm of 'sharing income in accordance with work^performance , there have to be c e r t a i n s o c i a l 1  services l i k e r e l i e f f o r c h i l d care (which, f o r purposes of population c o n t r o l , could be made a decreasing function of the number of c h i l d r e n in the household), old-age pension and health-insurance programmes.  31  That labour components of d i f f e r e n t households w i t h i n the communes in China was a source of d i s p a r i t y in income-earning opportunities f o r them has been reported by S t a v i s . See B. S t a v i s , People's Communes and Rural  Development  in China,  Special Series on Rural  Local Government, Ithaca: Rural Development Committee, Cornell U n i v e r s i t y , November 1974, p. 164.  243 P o l i c i e s have to be adopted which can e f f e c t i v e l y control d i s p a r i t i e s i n income-earning opportunities among group farms in d i f f e r e n t areas.  This w i l l c a l l f o r a l l o c a t i o n of a g r i c u l t u r a l  supplies and technical a i d to the group.farms the t r a d i t i o n a l l y backward areas can move up.  in such a way that A l s o , i t may.require  t h a t , as f a r as p o s s i b l e , no area gets a monopoly of supplying one or two a g r i c u l t u r a l commodities which are valued highly i n the 32 urban markets.  It i s true in Bangladesh, as i n most other less  developed countries of the world, that the r e l a t i v e l y r i c h r u r a l households have a d i v e r s i f i e d . s e t of assets, not a l l of which are rural-based.  Thus, even a f t e r access to land i s equalized, income-  earning opportunities of d i f f e r e n t members may vary s i g n i f i c a n t l y i f c e r t a i n conditions are not s t i p u l a t e d f o r a household to be able to j o i n the group farms.  If a household, which i s d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y  w e l l - o f f by v i r t u e of i t s off-farm assets, i s allowed to obtain membership i n a group farm then the basic p r i n c i p l e of e q u a l i t y of a l l members w i l l be v i o l a t e d .  A l s o , not a l l members i n that case  w i l l perceive a s i m i l a r i t y of i n t e r e s t i n a g r i c u l t u r e .  As a possible  means of reducing the chances of such consequences, i t may be required  In China, areas close to c i t i e s were not permitted to s p e c i a l i z e in commodities highly priced i n the urban markets so that these areas could not become d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y wealthy. The p o l i c y in t h i s regard was "take grain as the base and have a l l round development"; see B. S t a v i s , Making Politics of A g r i c u l t u r a l Development  Green Revolution: in China, Rural  The Development  Monograph No. 1, Ithaca: Rural Development Committee, Cornell U n i v e r s i t y , 1974, p. 253.  244 to r e s t r i c t membership to those households which o f f e r t h e i r f u l l - t i m e services to the group farms. A common c r i t i c i s m l a i d against j o i n t ventures i n a g r i c u l t u r e i s that they can r e s u l t in low incentives among the workers, making the o b j e c t i v e of r a i s i n g p r o d u c t i v i t y per u n i t of land or labour hard to achieve.  This c r i t i c i s m i s quite v a l i d in those cases  where the members f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to i d e n t i f y with the organization to which they belong, and where they do not perceive a d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p between the work they perform and the remuneration they receive.  Group farming can reduce the d i s i n c e n t i v e  problem a r i s i n g out of i s o l a t i o n of the members i n s o f a r as i t can create opportunities f o r a l l to p a r t i c i p a t e in the decision-making process.  Further, an e f f e c t i v e incentive mechanism w i t h i n the group  farms might involve remunerating each member according to the workp o i n t s he earns.  This w i l l e s t a b l i s h a d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p between  i n d i v i d u a l work-efforts and subsequent rewards, thereby reducing the problem of d i s i n c e n t i v e .  The p o l i c y of remunerating the members  according t o work-points earned need not require that a l l payments to them be deferred t i l l  t h e i r points have been adequately evaluated,  which may take as long as a f u l l cropping season.  Each member could  be paid an 'advance , perhaps each month, from t h e . t o t a l income that he 1  would merit at the end of the season on the basis of his o v e r a l l workperformance.  245 Inspite of various forms of incentives that may be b u i l t i n t o the system, i t i s quite l i k e l y that i f group farming were to be introduced in Bangladesh, productive e f f i c i e n c i e s would s u f f e r in the immediate  short run due to the confusions of t r a n s i t i o n .  To minimize t h i s loss i n e f f i c i e n c y , the group farms would have to be formed in such a way that each member f e e l s at ease with the land he works on and the other members he works w i t h .  Therefore,  f a m i l i a r i t y with the land and i t s people has to be taken as one of the basic c r i t e r i a f o r determining the e l i g i b i l i t y of an i n d i v i d u a l to j o i n a p a r t i c u l a r group farming u n i t .  In Bangladesh a para  ( l o c a l i t y ) has usually been the approximate e n t i t y around which the i n d i v i d u a l ' s s o c i a l , economic and p o l i t i c a l l i f e has revolved.  These  can act as i n i t i a l cohesive units of farming under the changed 33 circumstances as w e l l .  However, the age-old s t r a t i f i c a t i o n of the  households i n terms of t h e i r s o c i a l , economic and p o l i t i c a l  status  cannot change simultaneously with a change in t h e i r land-owning status. The creation of a community consisting of a l l the members of a l o c a l i t y , who w i l l have convergent i n t e r e s t s i n a g r i c u l t u r e , w i l l require careful 34 planning i n v o l v i n g a v a r i e t y of t r a n s i t i o n a l arrangements.  These local This, among  units may u l t i m a t e l y need to be expanded beyond such a l e v e l so that they can d i v e r s i f y t h e i r farming a c t i v i t i e s . however, has to be done gradually so that u n f a m i l i a r i t y members does not create problems.  Some of these arrangements are discussed in a subsequent section where various p o s s i b i l i t i e s of popularizing group farms are considered in some d e t a i l . See pp. 252-256.  246 To benefit from the commonality of experience of members in achieving p r o d u c t i v i t y increases, the small teams of workers w i t h i n the group farms, who are to be assigned s p e c i f i c j o b s , may be conveniently formed by getting the neighbours in the d i f f e r e n t l o c a l i t i e s together.  They are f a m i l i a r with the land, they know  each other, and they may also.have a past of organizing l i m i t e d neighbourly s e l f - h e l p p r o j e c t s .  However, t h i s should be viewed  as a t r a n s i t i o n a l arrangement only.  The creation of work-teams  based on geographical proximity of the members would tend.to bunch together members of the same kinship who usually l i v e close to each other.  If these work-teams are allowed to maintain t h e i r o r i g i n a l  composition f o r very long, past kinship r i v a l r i e s among them are bound to re-emerge which can a f f e c t o v e r a l l p r o d u c t i v i t y of the farm. Therefore, through frequent meetings of a l l members and through regular exchanges of members of d i f f e r e n t work-teams, which would create an opportunity f o r them to f u r t h e r i n t e r a c t with each other, an atmosphere may be created where these teams need no longer be formed on the basis of neighbourhoods:or any other c r i t e r i a which may u l t i m a t e l y r e f l e c t previous p o l a r i z a t i o n s , and may, in e f f e c t , put obstacles in the way of achieving e f f i c i e n c y . It was e a r l i e r pointed out that generation of e f f e c t i v e employment opportunities f o r an increasing labour force would c o n s t i t u t e another major o b j e c t i v e f o r a land reform programme in  247 Bangladesh.  Group farming, insofar as i t can involve a l l members  in the decision-making process, would help in ensuring e f f e c t i v e labour u t i l i z a t i o n .  T h i s w o u l d be so because the labour supply of  a l l the households put together would c o n s t i t u t e the t o t a l labour supply made a v a i l a b l e to the group farm, and i t would be uneconomical not to make the f u l l e s t use of t h i s labour.  It may also be argued  that workers with varying i n t e r e s t s and s p e c i a l i z a t i o n s can hope to be accommodated w i t h i n a group farm since i t would have a wider scope of operations. F u l l e r u t i l i z a t i o n of labour (and the complementary a g r i c u l t u r a l inputs) w i t h i n the framework of a group farming system can, a f t e r the short run confusion has disappeared, r a i s e the prospects of achieving greater p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of the scarce resource  —  35 land. surplus.  This would have the e f f e c t of r a i s i n g the l e v e l of marketable Therefore, .the group farms would be i n a better p o s i t i o n  to s y s t e m a t i c a l l y b u i l d up adequate f i n a n c i a l reserves to,be able to make investments in i n f r a s t r u c t u r a l and v i a b l e technological p r o j e c t s . T h i s , in t u r n , can increase p r o d u c t i v i t y and create more employment opportunities.  F u l l e r u t i l i z a t i o n of labour can also f a c i l i t a t e a more productive e x p l o i t a t i o n of resources other than land. For example, the vast water resources of the country can be used f o r f i s h farming, duck r a i s i n g and c u l t i v a t i o n of water-borne crops.  248 There i s a great deal of interdependence among the various objectives of land reform w i t h i n a group farming model.  The  e f f e c t i v e employment of labour and u t i l i z a t i o n of a l l other a v a i l a b l e resources depends upon the e q u a l i t y in income-earning opportunities of members.  And i t i s only through the e f f e c t i v e  u t i l i z a t i o n of labour and other a v a i l a b l e resources that the c r i t e r i a of dynamic e f f i c i e n c y can be f u l f i l l e d .  The i n i t i a l  task, however, i s to ensure that there i s an e q u a l i t y i n the access to land and other resources enjoyed by the d i f f e r e n t households. It i s apparent from the above discussion that there has to be a considerable degree of complementarity between the objectives of the  government and of the group farms f o r the success of group  farming to be achieved.  When i t comes to the question of r a i s i n g  a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i v i t y , one can perceive a convergence of i n t e r e s t s between these p a r t i e s .  However, the i n t e r e s t s of the group  farms may not converge with those of the government in such matters as consumption on the farms and the surplus to be extracted from 36  a g r i c u l t u r e (for exporting or f o r meeting urban consumption needs). Such problems cannot be resolved through coercion.  Rather, by  adopting measures such as o f f e r i n g the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector b e t t e r  See G. Etienne, 'China's A g r i c u l t u r e : Present S i t u a t i o n and P r o s p e c t s ' , in P. Dorner (ed.), Cooperative and Commune:^ Group Farming  in the Economic  Development  of Agriculture,  Madison:  The U n i v e r s i t y of Wisconsin Press, 1977, pp. 151-152.  2'49 terms of trade f o r crops required f o r the urban consumption/export sector, the government can encourage the production and marketing of those a g r i c u l t u r a l commodities.  This would, however, involve a  gestation gap which has to be t o l e r a t e d by the government i f the group farms are to be established on a strong f o o t i n g .  Whether the  government would do t h i s or not would, again, depend upon the nature of i t s power-base.  Only i f t h i s base i s mainly provided by the  peasantry at large can one hope f o r such an a t t i t u d e from the government.  Although the e x i s t i n g s i t u a t i o n in Bangladesh does not  seem ideal i n . t h i s regard, one can contemplate a n o t - t o o - d i s t a n t future where the p o l i t i c a l a l l e g i a n c e of the peasantry w i l l become 37 a necessity f o r keeping p o l i t i c a l power in Bangladesh.  This,  however, i s not to say that c o n f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t s between the government and the group farms w i l l cease to e x i s t in such an eventuality.  The broadly defined i n t e r e s t s of the nation as a whole  can s t i l l , at times, become divergent from the r e l a t i v e l y narrow range of i n t e r e s t s of the group farms.  However, the important point  to note i s that there would be greater chances of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n between the contenders when they have basic i n t e r e s t s in cooperating with each other. The above discussion i n d i c a t e s that there are considerable prospects of meeting the objectives of land reform through group farming.  However, management of group farms can be a d i f f i c u l t task.  See p. 240.  250 The problems of management under such arrangements and some p o s s i b l e approaches toward solving them are discussed below.  Management of Group Farms The management of group farms i n matters of organization of work and of bookkeeping i s going t o be a complicated task.  During the  i n i t i a l period the members of these farms cannot be expected to d i s p l a y the necessary expertise f o r managing t h e i r farms.  As a  consequence, these farms w i l l i n e v i t a b l y require help i n t h i s regard 38 from outside sources.  This can r a i s e a problem of suspicion among  the members toward the management since there i s , among the v i l l a g e r s , a t r a d i t i o n a l d i s t r u s t toward ' o u t s i d e r s ' .  There may be a number of  39 ways i n which t h i s problem can be reduced. 1. The members should have a large say i n the h i r i n g of outside managers. 2.  The members should have the r i g h t to remove any of the managers through consensus o"r majority d e c i s i o n , i f need be.  3.  Rather than keeping the e n t i r e decision-making function confined t o the outside managers, there should be attempts to incorporate i n t o i t the experiences of older peasants.  Even when the h i r i n g i s done from ' o u t s i d e ' sources, the supply of s k i l l e d managers would be short i n Bangladesh. Therefore, the government would have to i n i t i a t e programmes which can provide t r a i n i n g to those who already have the basic q u a l i f i c a t i o n s . For a f u l l e r discussion of t h i s subject see Reed, pp. 370-371.  op.cit.,  25:1 During the phase that the group farms continue to depend upon outside help f o r management purposes, members of these farms w i l l themselves have to be t r a i n e d to gradually take up the managerial responsibilities.  Since the managers would not have powers to make  decisions on production and d i s t r i b u t i o n w i t h i n the group farms, one would not expect to be faced with a s i t u a t i o n where the 'outside i n t e r e s t s ' would not be wi11ing to r e l i n q u i s h t h e i r 'power . 1  After  the management has been taken over by the members themselves, f u r t h e r cautions may be necessary to ensure that the managers do not evolve 40 into small p r i v i l e g e d groups w i t h i n the farms.  This w i l l require  that there be a large number of members t r a i n e d in managerial functions so that the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of management can be alternated among groups of these members.  Also i t i s necessary that the control of  management functions by some of the members does not c u r t a i l the sense of involvement of a l l members in the decision-making  process.  Popularizing Group Farms. It was pointed out e a r l i e r that i t would probably be r e l a t i v e l y easy to form the i n i t i a l group farms among those households which were previously landless.  These households with t h e i r meagre resources  would not, however, be able to e s t a b l i s h t h e i r farms on a strong f o o t i n g  In his study on the c o l l e c t i v e a g r i c u l t u r e in Soviet Central A s i a , Khan reports: "The spread between real earnings of the top management and the earnings of the f i e l d worker would appear to be quite l a r g e . " See A.R. Khan and D. Ghai, ' C o l l e c t i v e A g r i c u l t u r e in Soviet Central A s i a ' , World Development, V o l . 7, No. 4/5, April/May 1979, p. 83.  252 without government support.  However, i f the government i s not  committed t o the basic p r i n c i p l e s of group farming then one may expect t h i s support to i n t e r f e r e , on occasions, with the group involvement i n the decision-making process.  Under such circumstances  many households outside the group farms w i l l not f e e l i n c l i n e d toward j o i n i n g these schemes.  To a t t r a c t a d d i t i o n a l p a r t i c i p a t i o n ,  the pioneering group farms, with s e l e c t i v e support provided by government, w i l l have to set an example f o r others. To reduce uneasiness due t o an abrupt.end of t h e i r ownership status as i n d i v i d u a l s , members may be allowed to keep a c e r t a i n percentage of t h e i r land f o r personal c u l t i v a t i o n .  T h i s , however,  has to be monitored very c a r e f u l l y by the government i f newer d i s p a r i t i e s and c o n f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t . a r e to be avoided i n f u t u r e . . The experience of Mexico in t h i s regard shows t h a t , i n the absence of pooling a l l operations and decision-making functions i n the a s s o c i a t i v e groups (the ejidos),  c u l t i v a t i o n could, not be made group-  o r i e n t e d , and the success of the land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n programme of the 1930 s in bringing about e q u a l i t y in the landholding status of r u r a l 1  households was s e r i o u s l y threatened by 1960.  41  One way i n which i n d i v i d u a l households may be encouraged to c o n t r i bute t h e i r land to the group farms would be to provide the members  World Bank, Land Reform:  May 1975, p. 72.  Sector  Policy  Paper,  Washington,  D.C,  253 with c r e d i t s on easier terms.  42  The government can also make  a p o l i c y of r e d i s t r i b u t i n g part of the surplus land among the group farms when they are formed.  This w i l l r e s u l t in a higher  p a r t i c i p a t i o n rate in group farming a c t i v i t i e s .  Group farms  also need to organize t h e i r own insurance schemes ( f o r example, f o r health and education) to cover a l l members which may act as an i n c e n t i v e to households to work together.  Cooperatives of  group farms at the thana and subdivision l e v e l s can also hedge 43 against other r i s k s and u n c e r t a i n t i e s of a g r i c u l t u r a l operations. Further incentives may be provided by favouring group farms in matters of c r e d i t and government procurement.  But, again, a d e l i c a t e  balance has to be maintained between too much and too l i t t l e government involvement. during i n i t i a l  Excessive autonomy w i t h i n the group farms  phases w i l l be unwarranted since these farms need  ' p r o t e c t i o n ' much the same way as the ' i n f a n t i n d u s t r i e s ' i n the urban areas do.  Excessive government support and c o n t r o l , on the other hand,  w i l l d e f i n i t e l y defeat the purpose of group involvement in a l l phases of farming. 42  The government must take care not to restage the Comilla drama. Evaluation of p o t e n t i a l p r o d u c t i v i t y and savings of a farm (with which standing loans can be repaid) has to precede the extension of c r e d i t . 43 . . . For the r o l e of interfarm cooperation i n group farming a c t i v i t i e s see O.M. Schi 11 e r , Cooperation and Integration Production, Concepts and P r a c t i c a l Application:  Synopsis,  Bombay:  in A g r i c u l t u r a l An International  Asia Publishing House, 1969, p. 194-195.  254 In implementing a group farming arrangement, one must also 44 take account of v a r i a t i o n s w i t h i n the country.  In  Bangladesh  c e r t a i n areas of the country s u f f e r heavily from f l o o d i n g .  These  areas could be c u l t i v a t e d more e f f e c t i v e l y i f the problem of flooding could be reduced.  Although f l o o d protection in the country as a  whole would require massive investments, some l o c a l i t i e s can be made r e l a t i v e l y f l o o d - f r e e with modest investments.  For example, parts  of the d i s t r i c t s of Comilla and Faridpur, which are moderately flooded (50% of land under 1 m of water), would be able to u t i l i z e the affected land better i f t h i s flooding i s c o n t r o l l e d by a project involving the construction of earthen embankments and digging of 45 canals.  On top of the other incentives given to the a g r i c u l t u r a l  households to j o i n group farming, the government can arrange to support such projects on the condition that group farming be practiced in these areas.  S i m i l a r l y the sinking of deep tubewells in the r e l a t i v e l y  dry regions of the country (see Map 3, p. 117) can be arranged under s i m i l a r conditions.  The government might also encourage group farming  a c t i v i t i e s in various l o c a l i t i e s by helping to s e l e c t those crops which are best suited to the given p h y s i c a l - b i o l o g i c a l c o n d i t i o n s , and by s e t t i n g up i n t e r r e g i o n a l exchange f a c i l i t i e s through which each V a r i a t i o n s in s o i l composition, c l i m a t i c c o n d i t i o n s , cropping pattern and size-tenure structure are discussed in Chapter III (pp. 112-129). A f u l l e r account of the regional v a r i a t i o n s would have to include considerations of numerous other variables (see footnote 75, p. 135). The flooding figures are provided by Johnson, op.ait.,  p. 28.  255 46 region can acquire a g r i c u l t u r a l inputs and consumption items. This w i l l help to make a g r i c u l t u r e more productive and i s to increase the a t t r a c t i v e n e s s of group farming.  likely  Given that the  government i s committed to the establishment of s e l f - r e l i a n c e among the members of the group farms, i t would be able to reduce i t s part in the exchange programme by l e t t i n g the thana and the d i s t r i c t l e v e l cooperatives of group farms take over more of t h e i r own r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s .  However, government involvement has to  continue in c e r t a i n aspects.  For example, when two d i f f e r e n t  cooperatives earn s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of income due to factors r e l a t e d to cropping p a t t e r n , c l i m a t e , or l o c a t i o n , i t i s the government who has to take up various measures to equalize t h e i r income f o r ascertaining balanced regional.development.  Thus,  the "second generation problems" c a l l f o r continued v i g i l a n c e from the government. Conclusion  The above discussion has pointed out t h a t , while a l l the models of land reform considered i n the context of Bangladesh would be d i f f i c u l t to implement (though in varying degree), the only model  See Maps 4 and 5, (pp. 120, 124) f o r the r e g i o n a l i z a t i o n of the country i n terms of various important crops.  256 which seems capable of creating a long-term v i a b l e s o l u t i o n f o r the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector of the country i s that which involves group farming.  It may be noted that t h i s model r e l i e s on a  continuous process of change i n man-land r e l a t i o n s h i p s f o r a t t a i n i n g the goals of increased equity and onr-going p r o d u c t i v i t y enhancement. It s t a r t s o f f with a r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land which, however, i s not seen as an end i n i t s e l f ; rather i t i s considered as an i n i t i a l step which c u r t a i l s the incidence of sharecropping and which establishes a more equitable d i s t r i b u t i o n of land ownership as the basis f o r f u l l e r cooperation among neighbouring households d i f f e r e n t spheres of a g r i c u l t u r a l production.  in  Group farming requires  that the cooperation be extended not only to a n c i l l a r y functions (such as c r e d i t , marketing and extension) but also to the ownership, decision-making and management aspects of farming.  It also c a l l s  f o r stepped-up government involvement during the i n i t i a l  phases,  though not to the extent that would be involved under state farming. Group farming, t h e r e f o r e , borrows from the other models in seeking to traverse the path from an i n e g a l i t a r i a n s m a l l - s c a l e farming to a j o i n t l y owned and managed farming system. Although the problems of landlessness and 'mini^farming  1  are  a common feature of a l l regions w i t h i n Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e (which suggest that pooling of land and other resources i s a necessary condition a l l over the country f o r e s t a b l i s h i n g a v i a b l e a g r i c u l t u r a l  257 s e c t o r ) , some regions have the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which would more r e a d i l y lend themselves to group farming a c t i v i t i e s than others. These regions are characterized by a highly skewed land ownership distribution.  Here, the search f o r a ' s u r p l u s '  land over l e g i s l a t e d  c e i l i n g s and also the search f o r households which could r e l a t i v e l y e a s i l y be induced to j o i n in group farms can hope to meet with greater success.  A f t e r the i n i t i a l group farming units have been  e s t a b l i s h e d , they have to demonstrate considerable success  in  achieving the various goals of land reform i f the households in other areas are to j o i n in s i m i l a r u n i t s . The discussion in Chapter III  suggested that in r e l a t i o n to the  landed i n t e r e s t s the r u l i n g e l i t e s in Bangladesh have t r a d i t i o n a l l y been "cooperative e l i t e of the dominant k i n d " , which means that these e l i t e s , though not d i c t a t e d wholly by the landed i n t e r e s t s in formulating a g r i c u l t u r a l p o l i c i e s , nevertheless, were i n c l i n e d to pursue p o l i c i e s which would keep these r e l a t i v e l y r i c h households 47 satisfied.  The present.government has emphasized that "development  planning and implementation should be i n c r e a s i n g l y by the poor 48 themselves".  However, in p r a c t i c e , no signs are yet v i s i b l e to  suggest a s h i f t in the r u l i n g e l i t e away from t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l a l l e g i a n c e to the r e l a t i v e l y l a n d - r i c h households. Meanwhile, the demands of the r e l a t i v e l y poor w i t h i n the r u r a l areas are being shaped not only by t h e i r growing poverty, and See pp. 87, 91. See quote on page 90.  258 p o l i t i c a l pronouncements such as that c i t e d above, but also by the f a i l u r e of a number of 'models' of land reform already attempted. The inadequacies of r e d i s t r i b u t i v i s t programmes in Bangladesh have been discussed in Chapter III.as well as in the present chapter. The f a i l u r e of the widely p u b l i c i z e d programme of l i m i t e d cooperation which found expression in the Comilla Cooperatives has also been noted.  A l l t h i s helps shape the perception of the poorer classes in  weighing the d i f f e r e n t a l t e r n a t i v e s so that the o b j e c t i v e conditions necessary f o r the i n i t i a t i o n of a group farming system may not be as f a r away in Bangladesh as i t may have appeared in e a r l i e r decades.  259  VI.  CONCLUSIONS  Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e has been characterized not only by low l e v e l s of p r o d u c t i v i t y per unit of land and labour but also by a considerable skew in the d i s t r i b u t i o n of income among the a g r i c u l t u r a l households.  The basic source of d i s p a r i t y i s i d e n t i f i e d  as the unequal d i s t r i b u t i o n in ownership of land.  This d i s p a r i t y i s  only moderately improved by the access to land which some of the land-poor households get as wage labourers or t e n a n t - c u l t i v a t o r s . About 33% of households in r u r a l Bangladesh have no farmland of t h e i r own.  Non-farm employment opportunities being very scarce, most  adult members of these households seek access to the land of others. This c o n s t i t u t e s a high demand on the land of those r e l a t i v e l y few households who do not have enough family labour f o r c u l t i v a t i n g a l l of the owned land without outside help (or who are not i n c l i n e d to do so even i f they have the necessary labour).  Since a l t e r n a t i v e  employment opportunities are very l i m i t e d , the wage labourer or the t e n a n t - c u l t i v a t o r cannot bargain to any great extent with his potential employer.  The economic dominance of r e l a t i v e l y large land  owners (along with t h e i r higher education, access t o information and urban connections) serves to r e i n f o r c e t h e i r stronger p o l i t i c a l and social situations.  A l l of t h i s goes to perpetuate the e x i s t i n g  s t r a t i f i c a t i o n of the r u r a l s o c i e t y .  260 With the passage of time Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e i s becoming more and more characterized by farms of very small s i z e s .  It  is  f u t i l e to argue t h a t , since these farms are able to c u l t i v a t e land more i n t e n s i v e l y than the larger farms due to r e l a t i v e l y abundant family labour, one should advocate a perpetuation or extension of such small family farming u n i t s .  As Herring has  noted, " . . . the poverty of the c u l t i v a t o r , and the consequent state of i l l - h e a l t h and malnourishment, not only exact unacceptable human costs, but also almost c e r t a i n l y depress the prospects f o r a dynamic and progressive a g r i c u l t u r a l sector in the long r u n . " < As the l i t e r a t u r e review in the introductory chapter revealed, a number of authors, in addressing themselves to the problems of r u r a l development in Bangladesh, have been engrossed with the task of e s t a b l i s h i n g the r e l a t i v e productive e f f i c i e n c y of s m a l l - s c a l e f a m i l y farming of owner-cultivators over that of tenant c u l t i v a t i o n .  The  present study has emphasized that such an approach may not be adequate, or even appropriate, i n determining p o l i c y options f o r the f u t u r e . The inadequacy of such exercises becomes apparent as one observes that there are large areas of the country which r e l y mainly on owner c u l t i v a t i o n , and yet which produce very l i t t l e per unit of land and labour.  2  Herring, op.cit.  3  p. 245.  See Chapter IV, p. 193.  261 It has also been shown t h a t , over time, tenant c u l t i v a t i o n may create farms so small as to r e s u l t in c u l t i v a t i o n as intensive as under owner c u l t i v a t i o n  and, hence, in tenant-farm p r o d u c t i v i t i e s  not lagging behind the owner-cultivators with s i m i l a r resource endowments.  However, i t should be recognized that t h i s cannot'be  used as a premise to suggest that Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e might be as well or b e t t e r served by tenant c u l t i v a t i o n as by owner c u l t i v a t i o n . The antecedent immiserization of the c u l t i v a t o r s i n v o l v e d , and the d i s p a r i t y of income between the landlords and the tenants have to be recognized and t h e i r p o l i t i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s taken into account. The assessment of t h i s study in comparing owner c u l t i v a t i o n with sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n i s t h a t . n e i t h e r i s capable of meeting the long-term requirements of a g r i c u l t u r a l development in Bangladesh. It i s necessary to do away with the i n e g a l i t a r i a n system of sharecropping c u l t i v a t i o n ; however, small-scale owner c u l t i v a t i o n also cannot be the answer in the long run.  .The evaluation of d i s t r i b u t i -  v i s t reform p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r Bangladesh brings one i n e v i t a b l y to t h i s conclusion. D i s t r i b u t i v i s t reforms in Bangladesh cannot a t t a i n the simultaneous goals of creating s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t small-scale family farms which are market oriented as w e l l .  It has been shown that a c e i l i n g on land  even as low as 4 acres, with the subsequent r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of  'surplus'  land among the landless and owners of 1 acre or less of land, would leave the r e c i p i e n t s (who c o n s t i t u t e more than half of a l l r u r a l  262 households) with an average farm s i z e s t i l l  less than 1 acre.  Although one can argue that such a land c e i l i n g , i f implemented, would c u r t a i l e x i s t i n g d i s p a r i t i e s in land ownership, i t does not n e c e s s a r i l y f o l l o w that the general welfare of a l l impoverished groups would be enhanced.  Erstwhile tenant or wage-labour  households may i n f a c t be adversely affected by too t h i n a r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of land.  This w i l l happen i f demands f o r t h e i r  services from the h i t h e r t o r e l a t i v e l y large land owners decline so much that the r e s u l t i n g loss in income exceeds the extra income they can earn from the newly received land.  Besides, evidence has been  put forward to suggest that the r e c i p i e n t s of very small pieces of land are l i k e l y over time to be pressured t o s e l l t h e i r land in the face of emergencies such as crop f a i l u r e , the sudden i l l n e s s of a family member, and the l i k e .  In t h i s way, a land r e d i s t r i b u t i o n  programme in Bangladesh can gradually lose much of i t s e f f e c t i v e n e s s . The problems which the dynamics of s m a l l - s c a l e farming, with the associated laws of i n h e r i t e n c e , would create f o r Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e in the long run cannot be solved by cooperation in ancillary, functions.  The subsistence nature of small farms would  make them ' r i s k - a v e r t e r s . 1  Risk aversion w i l l be manifested in t h e i r  resistance toward e s s e n t i a l changes in technology and production organization.  L i t t l e change can be expected i f the basic r e s p o n s i b i l  f o r making investments and bearing r i s k s continue to r e s t with such small farms i n i s o l a t i o n .  263 It has been argued in t h i s study t h a t , f o r equity to be achieved in the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector of Bangladesh, access to land enjoyed by d i f f e r e n t households has to be somehow equalized.  There  i s a t h e o r e t i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y that a state farming system, by abolishing p r i v a t e ownership in land and r e l y i n g on wage-labour c u l t i v a t i o n under state ownership, could remove d i s p a r i t i e s evolving out of any p r i o r unequal d i s t r i b u t i o n of land ownership among d i f f e r e n t households.  However, i t has been argued that the management of state  farms would tend to be highly bureaucratic in nature.  This would not  only l i m i t attainment of equity by the p o s s i b i l i t y of c o l l u s i o n between h i t h e r t o large land owners and members of the bureaucracy (who often have kinship and other t i e s with each o t h e r ) , but would also f a i l to meet the condition of dynamic e f f i c i e n c y .  Incentives among members  of a state farm would be rather low in the context of Bangladesh.  Past  experience has made them s k e p t i c a l about the merits of government action r e l a t i n g to r u r a l development programmes.  It would, t h e r e f o r e ,  not be appealing to them to work under the ' d i s t a n t entrepreneur' embodied in the s t a t e .  The e f f i c i e n c y of the state farms would also  s u f f e r because bureaucrats avoid taking r i s k s which can earn the displeasure of superiors in the event of t h e i r not paying o f f . Administrators of state farms may f u r t h e r t r y to avoid r i s k s by adopting a c a p i t a l - i n t e n s i v e technology instead of one that i s labouri n t e n s i v e , since a large labour force can become p o l i t i c a l l y powerful and may cause erosion in t h e i r power to control outcomes.  264 P u b l i c subsidy f o r state farms would also assume large proportions, e s p e c i a l l y during the i n i t i a l phases, since the s t a t e would have the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r strengthening a l l of these farming operations.  In the absence of dynamic e f f i c i e n c y being attained in  the state farms, t h i s s u b s i d i z a t i o n i s l i k e l y to become a perpetual c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of t h i s mode of agrarian  operations.  Any model suggested f o r equalizing access to land must also meet other requirements of Bangladesh a g r i c u l t u r e by s a t i s f a c t o r y responses to the f o l l o w i n g questions: ( i ) can i t guard against future d i s p a r i t i e s ? ( i i ) can i t create e f f e c t i v e employment  opportunities?  ( i i i ) can i t incorporate w i t h i n . i t s e l f an e f f e c t i v e incentive mechanism? ( i v ) can i t sustain i t s e l f in the long run by achieving greater p r o d u c t i v i t y ? (v) can i t be expected to bear the r i s k s involved in undertaking investments which are necessary f o r dynamic e f f i c i e n c y ? It' has been maintained in the present study that group farming, as a t h e o r e t i c a l concept, can provide s a t i s f a c t o r y answers to the above questions by vesting ownership of assets,  responsibilities  f o r a l l o c a t i n g jobs and sharing of p r o f i t s in the hands of the group. J o i n t decisions in planning and implementation which r e f l e c t majority  265 opinion would e f f e c t i v e l y guard against future d i s p a r i t i e s .  Group  farms would use a v a i l a b l e labour.more e x t e n s i v e l y , as well as more i n t e n s i v e l y ; this-would be in accordance with the need of employmentgeneration.  B y . r e l a t i n g remuneration to work-performance i t would  maintain i n d i v i d u a l i n c e n t i v e .  More e f f e c t i v e u t i l i z a t i o n of labour  w i t h i n t h i s incentive mechanism would also promise greater p r o d u c t i v i t y once the t r a n s i t i o n phase has been overcome.  Group farms would  gradually b u i l d up in capacity to invest in newer technologies that of the .HYVs-.  like  A l l t h i s would f u r t h e r the cause of a g r i c u l t u r a l  growth. However, group farming w i l l encounter.many p r a c t i c a l problems both in implementation and i n subsequent organization and management. T r a n s i t i o n from t r a d i t i o n a l family farming t o group farming would be a painstaking process.  Implementation,of the programme of group  farming w i l l have to be c a r e f u l l y phased.  During the t r a n s i t i o n a l  phase any c o n f l i c t between the i n t e r e s t s of group farms and the r e s t of a g r i c u l t u r e would have-to be resolved so as to f u r t h e r the cause of group farming.  It i s not easy to r e o r i e n t f a m i l y farms toward  group consciousness.  A great deal of i n t e r a c t i o n among the members  w i l l be n e c e s s a r y t o achieve t h i s end.  Member-involvement i n  managerial functions may also be l i m i t e d i n the short run due to lack of s k i l l .  H i r i n g of managers from the outside w i l l have to be  engineered and monitored c a r e f u l l y so that problems of bureaucratic management do not emerge.  266 It has been argued in t h i s study that any e f f e c t i v e land reform programme in Bangladesh w i l l have to adopt group farming as i t s long-term goal f o r achieving equity and e l i m i n a t i n g s i z e - d i s a b i l i t i e s and t e n u r i a l d i s i n c e n t i v e s .  A b r i e f review of  the p o l i t i c a l f a c t o r s which can influence the i n i t i a t i o n and implementation of such a land reform programme in Bangladesh shows that the p o w e r - e l i t e . o f the country, though vocal about the necessity of group-action in a g r i c u l t u r e , have not come out with any s p e c i f i c proposals f o r group farming.  Presumably t h i s i s because  they see implementation of such a reform to be contrary to the i n t e r e s t s of t h e i r power-base.  However, only p a r t i a l success of  various projects based on l i m i t e d cooperation, coupled with the increasing p o l i t i c a l consciousness  among the lower income groups in  a g r i c u l t u r e and t h e i r heightening expectations, i s gradually creating an atmosphere whereby the necessity f o r group farming i s being f e l t more and more.  It must be given serious consideration by those  responsible f o r devising a development programme which s a t i s f a c t o r i l y meets the c r i t e r i a of economic growth and e q u i t y , as well as s a t i s f y i n g the p o l i t i c a l requirements f o r long run s t a b i l i t y and s u r v i v a l in Bangladesh.  267  APPENDIX  S e l e c t e d C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the D i s t r i c t s  Table A l .  Soil  Composition  Dinajpur  85  Rajshahi  50  Silts  Clayey Loam  Hill Hill  and Wash  S a l i n e and Alkaline  Red  Kushtia  10  90  Jessore  10  90  Clayey  Swampy  Sandy  Average Annual Rainfall (inches)  Population Density per Square Mile  659  _  _  -  64  35  5  -  -  52  788  _  _  -  -  58  882  _  _  -  61  877  _  10  -  58  1,157  15 10  Bangladesh  (%)  District Sandy Loam  of  Pabna  45  45 10  40  -  -  58  1,075  Bogra  50  -  20  10  _  -  -  67  1,130  60  10  _  _  25  5  78  1,187  50  10  _  _  30  10  65  600 1,909  70  Rangpur Barisal  1  Khulna Dacca 2  15  Mymensingh  25  -  -  -  65  15  3  -  -  75  1,141  10  -  -  70  1,311  -  88  1,794  55  Faridpur Comilla Chittagong Tracts  75  73  55  5  30  5  40  Hill  -  -  93  75  10  -  -  169  737  _  . -  123  1,468  -  5  105  1,139  _  95 15  75  Syl het  60  Noakhali  40 55  20  Chittagong  Includes the present 2  _  d i s t r i c t s of Barisal  Includes the present d i s t r i c t s  20  -  -  and Patuakhali.  of Mymensingh and T a n g a i l .  Conti nued  ro cr> 00  Farm Area as Percentage of Total Area  District  Average Farm S i z e (acres)  Percentage of Farm Area Owned by Farms Sized 12.5 acres or More  Percentage of Households with Farms Below 2.5 acres  Percentage of Total Cropped Acreage Devoted to Rice  Percentage of Total Cropped Acreage Devoted to J u t e , Sugar Cane, Wheat and Pulses  Percentage of Total Cropped Acreage Devoted to Other Crops  Dinajpur  76 50  5.5  22 80  22  81 89  6 58  11 53  Rajshahi  80 86  5.0  22 43  34  70 45  17 66  11 89  53 22  32 80  13 98  34  67 99  19 31  12 70  47  65 03  18 44  16 53  13 90  15  80 62  9 71  9 67  42  78 76  11 18  10 06 9 77  73 04  Kushtia  84 78  Jessore  80 82  Pabna  80 10  Bogra  5.8 4.4 3.9 3.8  25 36 13 92 19 61  24  Rangpur  92 73  4.0  16 78  Barisal  79 93  3.6  17 00  52  84 08  6 15  Khulna  43 88  3.9  16 96  47  86 35  4 46  9 19  Dacca  78 93  2.9  11 30  59  67 54  16 84  15 62  Mymensingh  81 77  3.5  14 07  50  75 60  15 79  8 61  Faridpur  81 34  3.2  12 62  45  64 43  17 84  17 73  69 73  1.8  4 00  77  77 42  11 35  11 23  5 30  4.1  17 98  55  57 33  34  42 33  51  92 26  1 04  6 70  76  87 23  5 28  7 49  69  85 90  6 81  7 29  Comilla Chittagong Tracts Syl het Noakhali Chittagong  Hill 53 56 63 66 41 76  4.0 2.0 2.6  27 44 10 81 22 51  Continued  CTl  Percentage of Farm Area Sharecropped  District  Dinajpur  24.39  Rajshahi  24.81  Kushtia  21.18  Jessore  18.01  Pabna  19.18  Bogra  13.18  Rangpur  14.25  Barisal  17.80  Khulna  23.47  For Columns  For .  For  Government of P a k i s t a n , Population Census of Pakistan, 1961: District Census Report, Kushtia, K a r a c h i : M i n i s t r y o f Home A f f a i r s , (undated), p. 1-19.  (ii)  Government of Bangladesh, Statistical Digest of Bangladesh, No. 8, Dacca: Bangladesh Bureau of S t a t i s t i c s , 1972, p. 6.  Column 11: Government of P a k i s t a n , Census of Pakistan Population, East Pakistan, K a r a c h i , June 1964, p. 11-11.  Mymensingh  14.75  Faridpur  15.53  Comi11 a  3.84  (i)  1.45  (ii)  For  Noakhali  13.10  Chittagong  19.03  1961, V o l . 2,  Column 12:  Hill 8.90  Vikas  (i)  12.53  Sylhet  New D e l h i :  Column 10:  Dacca  Chittagong Tracts  1-9:  N. Ahmed, A New Economic Geography of Bangladesh, Publishing House, 1976, p. 25.  Government of P a k i s t a n , Pakistan Census of Agriculture, 1960, V o l . 1 , F i n a l Report - East P a k i s t a n , Part I, October 1962, pp. 26-28. 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