5.3 Total Labor

Tables 5.1 to 5.3 report estimated regression equations for 'TL' for all the 3 crop zones. One equation for each ’farm size' in each zone was estimated with dummies for tenures. Table 5.1 reports the functions for the rice zone. The signs of coefficients in all the 3 equations for 3 farm sizes are in the expected direction. But there is considerable variation between the significance of these coefficients. In small farms only the coefficient of 'CAf and ’F S ’ are significant. The sign of the former is negative and of the latter positive. This is consistent with our expectations and other studies as discussed in Chapter 3. It indicates that small farms seem to substitute labor for land. Since main source of farm labor is the family, and main source of employment for their families is working on the farm, the significance and signs of ’cultivated area’ and ’family size’ are as could be expected. All other estimated coefficients are insignificant except the constant term.

In the estimated equation for medium farms the only significant estimated coefficients are for 'tractor u se’ and ’intercept'. The sign with tractor use is negative. This is probably because when the farm size increases, the family source of labor becomes more and more insufficient. Table 2.7 above indicates that medium and large farms use less family labor per cultivated acre as compared with small farms. The medium farmers are probably unable to meet total labor needs particularly for High Yielding Varieties from family sources, and turn to the use of tractor to reduce the pressure on family labor. However the use of tractor seems to reduce the use of labor on their


The estimated equation for labor use on the large farms has all the coefficients statistically significant. The coefficients of ' C A ’, fertilizers, tractor use, education and ’FS' are negative, and for implements, seeds and dummy for owners are positive. The negative sign with cultivated area may be due to substitution of land for labor by large farms. Because they possess more land and may have relatively small family ( as due to education and exposure to modern world people tend to reduce their family size. Large farms in Punjab are in a position to educate their children and may be more aware of the modern life as well as compared with poor small farmers). The negative sign with fertilizer use may be due to its replacing the application of farm yard manure.

In Punjab large farms were the first to adopt new seed and other modern technologies and techniques. They are still supposed to be ahead of small and medium farms (In 1981-82 data large farms are using higher quantities of modern inputs as compared with small and medium farms (see T a b l e ^ A appendix III). Being economically better off they have better access and ability to purchase certified seed and other agricultural modern inputs for each crop. High yielding seeds use more labor as they yield more due to having better combination of other complementary inputs. Consequently, new seeds play a significant role in the increase of labor use on large farms in rice zone. Though the signs of estimated coefficients for seeds are also positive in the case of the small and the large farms, but they are not statistically significant.

The positive sign of estimated coefficients in case of implements is as expected. Though the signs of this coefficient for small and

medium farms are also positive they are only significant in the case of large farms. It is probably due to large farmers being in a better economic position and being able to have larger stock of them per worker, whereas small and medium are unable to do so.

The tractor seems to be labor displacing. Since small farms are almost fully family operated and the objective of the family business is to employ all the family members who could work (Sen 1966), they use a tractor very rarely. In 1981-82 the use of tractor time per cultivated acre on small farms is among the lowest (most of it is hired tractors). The tractor is used by small farms to improve the land mainly, so that the prospects of family employment on the farm could increase. The estimated coefficient in their case, however, is insignificant. But medium and large farms use tractors extensively and the estimated coefficients for tractor use in their cases are negative and significant, suggesting that tractor use is labor displacing on large and medium farms.

Education seems to affect labor use negatively on the large farms in the rice zone. The effect of education in the case of small and medium farms is insignificant. The causation in this case is complex but is probably related to use of farm machinery by large farms.

The effect of family size on labor use seems different in all the three farm size groups. The estimated coefficient for family size is positive in both small and medium farms but significant only in the small. Obviously it is due to importance of family labor in total labor use on small farms. The estimated coefficient of family size is negative as well as significant in the large farms category. This is partly an indicator of strong leisure preference of relatively richer farmers. It could also be due to higher dependency ratios among

families with large farms.

The positive sign of estimated coefficient for owners' dummy indicates that owners use more labor than tenants (Tenants are excluded dummy in the 'labor use functions'). It is positive in all the farm size categories but is significant only in the case of large farms. The positive sign with this dummy is as postulated in chapter 3. Owner-cum-tenants are a mixed category between owners and tenants. Their behaviour is not clear. They may go either way. The coefficient for that dummy is negative in the large farms and positive in the medium farms.

As mentioned above, farm size is negatively associated with labor use in all the farm sizes, but significant only in small and large farms. Thus in the case of small and large farms the difference in the size of farms indicates negative and significant association of farm size with labor use in the rice zone of Punjab.

Table:5.2 represents total 'labor use functions' for the sugarcane zone. It reports equations for small, medium and large farm categories in the zone. The estimated coefficient of 'CA' is negative in all the three farm sizes, significant only in small farms. Thus the argument of substitution of labor for land may be applicable in this zone. All the other estimated coefficients in both small and medium farms are insignificant. The estimated coefficient for 'tractor use' is negative in the small farm category and positive in medium and large farms, but statistically insignificant in all the three cases. When the figure for tractor use is seen for sugarcane zone and compared with the other two zones it is among the lowest (see appendix III, Table:4A).

coefficients of 'fertilizers’ and 'education' are negative. The coefficient of fertilizer is statistically significant suggesting substitution of farm yard manure by fertilizer. Large farms use maximum tractor time and minimum bullock labor as compared with other farm size categories (appendix III, Table 4A).

The signs of estimated coefficients of education are (see Table:5.3) are insignificant. The estimated coefficient for



In document Labor absorption in agriculture : case study of Pakistan Punjab (Page 101-105)