Farm Size and Productivity in Algerian Agriculture: A Contingent Relationship

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between farm size and farm performance in Algeria. Unlike most previous studies, this preliminary study uses a large dataset comprising 26 735 farmers in Biskra region. Two farming sectors are considered, namely: date palm sector (typically a traditional farming sector) and greenhouse vegetables sector (relatively a modernizing sector). The study employs two farm performance measures, farmland productivity (farm output per hectare) and land use intensity. A bivariate non-parametric regression (Nadaraya-Watson approach) and multivariate quantile regression are used to assess the IR in two farming sectors. The main findings show that the IR holds for a traditional agriculture and does not in a modernizing one. Then, when it holds, it follows a systematically monotonic smooth pattern, whereas in a highly input-intense modern sector, the relationship becomes, in the best cases, blurry. The consideration of the nature of the used technology in the underlying sector (i.e., its stage of development) is of crucial importance as a contingency factor in analyzing the IR for any farming system ignored in most studies.