Main Article Content
While globalization has led to the deterioration of mountain ecosystems, loss of biodiversity, cultural decay, and difficulties for smallholder livelihoods, it has also presented new opportunities and challenges for the development of mountain terraced communities. Informal seed systems-- the collection, propagation, and exchange of seeds are a valuable strategic resource for farmers’ survival, economic development, and resilience to unpredictable changes in the future. Informal seed systems that conserve broad genetic diversity, and the related practices involved in managing the informal seed system, play an important role in the sustainable development of terraced fields and poverty reduction. In this paper, we analyzed the characteristics of production behavior in informal, farmer seed
systems from four livelihood types across 26 villages in the Hani Terrace, Yunnan Province, in China. We measured the efficiency of the farmers' chosen seed management system in achieving sustainable livelihoods using data envelopment methods, and filtered the data to identify a total of 6 key factors that affect livelihood efficiency of informal, farmers seed systems using methods of un-ordered multi-classification logistic regression and tobit
regression. Results from our analyses indicate that while there are no significant differences among different livelihood types in labor distribution, seed storage, seed treatment, and range of seed exchange, . However, there are significant differences in proportion of migrant workers, per capita farmland income, planting scale, pesticide application methods, and crop changing rotation methods among different livelihood types; which suggests that opportunity costs and economic scale of the farming operation affect the efficiency of the seed system to contribute to sustainable livelihoods. Furthermore, the order of seed system livelihood efficiency of different livelihood types is: pure farmers > part-time farmers > less than part-time farmers > mainly farmers; the order of effective ratio of seed system livelihood efficiency of different livelihood types of farmers is: pure farmers > mainly farmers >less than
part-time farmers > part-time farmers. Importantly, richness (genetic diversity) of rice seed and income of rice seed have a significant positive impact on the livelihood efficiency of farmers, while non-rice seed income, planting area, and farming methods have a significant negative impact on farmers' livelihood efficiency. Moreover, household size and seed treatment methods have no significant impact on farmers' livelihood efficiency. Planting temperature, village net income per capita, the scale of village workforce available for farming labor (village labor), and farming methods have significant positive effects on rice planting efficiency, while the proportion of village workforce, and the seed treatments used have significant negative effects on the scale of rice planting efficiency. Our analyses conclude that increasing diversity of rice planting and rice seed income can significantly improve the livelihood efficiency of farmers, but simply increasing planting area, non-agricultural income and proportion of village labor does not directly improve farmers' livelihood efficiency. Our research highlights the challenges of small-scale production, which limits the application of new technology and restricts development of the rice farming industry, and the importance of improving the quality of the informal labor distribution and allocating strategic and appropriate technical inputs to refine farming methods in highland mountain terrace communities. endogenous development ability of terrace community as a breakthrough, enhance ecological, economic and cultural value of seed system, and create sustainable agricultural production and lifestyle with local characteristics, so as to truly
improve the livelihood efficiency of farmers.