The purpose of this study was to examine farmers’ needs for agricultural assistance to help improve production, marketing, and farm finance. Though agricultural assistance has become more available to China’s rural farming communities, little if any, research is available to evaluate the impact of the assistance on farming efficiency. Which farming groups have the highest demand for the assistance and what types of assistance are in urgent need? This study uses a Canonical Discriminate Analysis to examine farmers’ perceived usefulness of selected agricultural assistance to answer the above questions. Using face-to-face interviews, agricultural economics students collected 332 surveys in 2007 from producers in China’s major agricultural production provinces of Shaanxi (128 observations), Shanxi (115 observations), and Shangdong (89 observations). The results show that a severe shortage of agricultural assistance has greatly affected the majority of farm households on their production, marketing and financial aspects of the business practice. Some farmers with larger land and higher total farm expenditures are likely to seek for improved assistance on production. Those who worked off the farm to compensate farm financial needs have reported especially a strong desire for financial and marketing related assistance. This study reveals that surveyed farm operations in China have been challenged by the inefficient agricultural support and that the government policy interventions need to be planned to furnish an adequate support to aid farming efficiency.
Key words: Agricultural assistance, farmers’ needs for agricultural assistance, agricultural assistance in China’s major production areas.
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