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GSLL 1508 - Challenges in Smallholder Agriculture

  • Noncredit
  • Online

"A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain and drinking largely sobers us again." -Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism 1711

This course will take a more sobering in-depth evaluation of the plight of smallholder producers, including a review of the basic premise that has guided the rural poverty alleviation effort for the past 40 years and how it might be modified to better assist them in the future. The course’s primary objective will be to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of smallholder producers that will guide them in undertaking a diagnostic participatory program to find the most effective means of alleviating poverty.

We will look at the overall economic environment in which smallholders live and operate based on relative consumer prices, giving some insight into the calories that one can purchase relative to the calories they are expected to exert in agronomic field work and relative to the U.S. This will allow us to look at how this may impact the operational environment in which they manage their lands and their ability to implement production programs designed for their poverty alleviation.

We will also review some of annual variation in the physical environment with which they have to contend. Finally, it will look at the different support services available and which are the most effective in serving their needs, before concluding with a community-wide analysis of how smallholders fit into their overall rural community and the type of questions that might be considered in a comprehensive participatory diagnostic process.

The course will be in interactive, relying largely on the analysis of data of the participant’s choosing. For those on field assignments, hopefully this will come directly from the community with which you are working. For those not as fortunate, the data could come from posting on the instructor’s website or from internet searches and downloaded reports. The course will also include some preliminary surveys of participants’ conceptual expectations. These will be summarized, shared with the class and compared to realities in the field.

Upon completion of this course participants will be able to:

  • Have a more in-depth understanding of the challenges of smallholder producers
  • Understand the degree to which producers are limited by their operational resources
  • Understand how to adjust the environment in which they operate to provide an improved opportunity to assist with poverty alleviation

This course can be applied towards:

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.

Important Information

Due to the condensed time frame for this course, students cannot withdraw and receive a refund once the course begins.