The Chilean government provides support for fostering entrepreneurship among small farmers to improve their competitiveness in global markets. Despite this support, in rural areas the number of farmers declines and the population is aging.
The overall objective of this dissertation was to provide technical and socio-economic information to improve the effectiveness of rural development programs; these programs are a major tool in stopping rural migration. To accomplish this objective, the role of technical and socio-economic variables in both the stay-exit decision in farming and the farms’ technical efficiency was analyzed. Furthermore, the effectiveness of existing rural development programs in Chile in achieving their main goals was evaluated.
This dissertation concludes that (i) rural development programs should focus on farmer characteristics, farming system, and social aspect of rural society, (ii) current production can be achieved with a reduction of inputs ranging from 26% (land use) to 37% (livestock use), and (iii) designing new programs that focus on improving the quality of social and organizational capital could increase the effectiveness of rural development programs goals.