Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Call for Research Papers on Mechanization of Small-Scale Farms in Asia: Current Status, Impacts, and Future Prospects


Asian Development Bank Institute

Small-scale food producers contribute around 80% of the world’s food, which is the cornerstone of food security and economic development. However, small-scale farming faces many challenges, such as rural labor shortages driven by declining fertility, rising agricultural wages, and rural-to-urban migration. Agricultural mechanization is a crucial input for agri-food production because it can ease labor pressures within the sector and improve farm performance.

The social and environmental impacts of agricultural mechanization are less understood. To advance sustainable and broad-based agricultural growth as a basis for poverty reduction, economic growth, and social development, more efforts are required to comprehensively understand the associations between the mechanization of small-scale farms and agricultural development sustainability.

The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) is seeking high-quality empirical and applied research papers examining the mechanization of small-scale farms in Asia, with a focus on its current status, impacts, and future prospects. Papers may also be devoted to literature review and meta-analysis. Selected papers will be featured in virtual conference and considered for inclusion in an edited book highlighting policy solutions for enhancing agricultural production and social development. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Farm mechanization barriers and drivers
  • Sustainable agriculture mechanization challenges and opportunities
  • Mechanization development status at country levels
  • Policy support for promoting agricultural mechanization
  • Preferences for mechanization patterns (self-investment vs. purchasing services)
  • Willingness to accept and pay for mechanization services
  • Gender gaps in mechanization adoption and outcomes
  • Willingness to pay for scale-appropriate farm mechanization
  • Negative externalities of mechanization

Papers exploring the relationship between farm mechanization and the following themes are also welcome:

  • Farm-level performance (e.g., adoption and scaling up of agricultural technologies, production intensification, revenue, productivity, efficiency, harvest loss, production costs, product quality, land transfer, farm structure change, farmland abandonment, and agri-food system transformation)
  • Household-level performance (e.g., food security, nutrition intake, dietary diversity, livelihood strategies, poverty, income)
  • Individual-level performance (e.g., out-migration, non-farm employment, human capital accumulation, health, well-being)
  • Social-level performance (e.g., conflicts, inclusion, diversity, inequality, and rural economic transformation)
  • Environmental-level performance (e.g., soil compaction and erosion, ecosystem health, tillage, greenhouse gas emission, and agro-chemical pollution)
  • Management of resources (e.g., land, water, and on-farm family/hired labor employment) in farm production
  • Empowering different demographic groups (e.g., women, the elderly, and ethnic minorities)

Submission Procedure

Authors should submit manuscripts of 7,000-10,000 words, including references and footnotes but excluding figures and tables, via this link by 31 January 2024.

All submissions must be original and not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Arrangements for Selected Papers

Authors of selected papers will be invited to present at the virtual conference to be hosted by ADBI in March 2024.

The corresponding author will be invited to present at the conference. The corresponding author is also expected to serve as a discussant for another paper.

After rigorous peer review, accepted papers will be included as chapters in the planned edited book.

An honorarium of $1,000 will be paid to the corresponding author upon approval of all deliverables.

Selection Committee

  • Wanglin Ma, Lincoln University, New Zealand
  • Dil Rahut, Asian Development Bank Institute, Japan


Inquiries may be directed to Wanglin Ma and Dil Rahut.