Socioeconomic determinants of crop diversity and its effect on farmer income in guangxi, Southern China

Cheng Li, Xinjian Chen*, Aiwu Jiang, Myung Bok Lee, Christos Mammides, Eben Goodale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Encouraging crop diversity could be a “win-win” for farmers and biodiversity conservation, if having a variety of crops produces the heterogeneity that supports biodiversity, and if multiple crops decrease the risk of farmers to losses due to pests, climatic events or market fluctuations, without strongly reducing their incomes. However, data on the factors that influence the decision to plant multiple crops, and how that affects profit, are needed, especially for East Asia, where these questions have been little studied. We distributed a questionnaire on these issues to 301 farmers in 35 villages in an agricultural area close to the city of Nanning in Guangxi, south China. Crop diversity increased with land size and closeness to the city. We detected no relationship between profit variability and crop diversity, but farmers with greater crop diversity and more land were more profitable, a result driven by several rarely planted but lucrative types of crops. Crop diversity can be a focus for policy to improve farmers’ livelihoods; these policies need to encourage farmers with little land to form cooperatives. Further research is needed to understand the effect of crop diversity on profit variability, and in areas closer to protected areas where biodiversity is higher.

Original languageEnglish
Article number336
JournalAgriculture (Switzerland)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Agricultural economics
  • Agroecosystems
  • Crop heterogeneity
  • Environmentally friendly agriculture
  • Land-sharing vs. land-sparing
  • Questionnaire
  • Rice farming
  • Risk aversion
  • Small-holder agriculture
  • Sustainable agriculture


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