Assessing the Role of Social Capital in Agricultural Land Consolidation Case study: Hesar e Valiasr County, Avaj Township

Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Prof. in Dep. of Geography, Zanjan University


Extended Abstract
Fragmentation and distribution of agricultural lands is one of most important
structural problems of the rural development process especially agricultural
development in the Iran. Consequently, the problem has lead to numerous other
serious problems such as inefficient use of modern technologies and new production
methods, decrease in productivity, waste of soil and water resources, reduction of
income level, insufficient of job opportunity and entrepreneurship activities and etc.
which have been result in slowing the rate of rural development process. Meanwhile,
land consolidation as a factor for successful development of agriculture has draws
attention of planners and policymakers in the both developed and developing
countries in the recent years. When applied as an instrument of rural development,
land consolidation can improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of public and
private investments in transportation and communication networks, utilities and
irrigation systems. By facilitating renewal of communities, land consolidation can
promote social stability. Based on sustainable development approach, community
assets to improve the livelihood of the local community includes a broad range of
capitals forms such as natural, physical, human, financial and social capitals.
Therefore social capital as an intangible investment is a facilitator development
resources management based on social relationships and the function of local
networks in different levels of the individual and the family, group and community. 
Thus, in the one hand, social capital dimensions (local network, participation, trust
and social cohesion) in the field of land consolidation, can promote stability of the
social and economic development, comprehensive planning of land management,
effective rapid assessment of complex situations, develop common values, guarantee
an equal distribution of resources and increase understanding of the stakeholders,
and in the other hand, it paves the way for new opportunities to encourage local
residents invest in agricultural infrastructural such as water supply and transferring,
packaging, trading and marketing, technical skills, communication etc that led to
agricultural development. Now regarding the role of social capital in land
consolidation this study attempts to answer these questions: 1- Has social capital
helped to land consolidation of scattered plots among small farmers in the study
region? And what factors have the most influence in participatory land consolidation
from the viewpoint of the beneficiaries?
The research method of the current study in terms of the nature, rate and degree of
control and method of data collection was quantitative, non-experimental and field
research, respectively. The statistical population of the study consisted of 280
farmers of the villages of Ardelan, Dashtak and Azanbar located in Hesar e Valiasr
County (Avaj township- Qazvin province). To determine the sample size, based on
the Cochran formula, the 150 beneficiary was selected as a samples and
questionnaires were distributed randomly. To assess the role of social capital
indicators (cooperation and participation, social trust, local networks and group
cohesion) in land consolidation questionnaire was used. The validity of the
questionnaire was confirmed by a panel of experts. The reliability of the variables,
using the preliminary questionnaire was calculated by the use of Cronbach's alpha
coefficient of 0.937. For quantitative analysis of collected data statistical tests such
as one sample T test, Kruskal Wallis and Factor analysis were used.
To assess the role of social capital in the farmers tendencies to make decisions 
related to scattered land plot consolidation in the study area, one sample t test has
been used. The analysis show that, with the assumed test value of 3 (as a liker
spectrum mean) there are significant differences between numerical means of social
capital components in land consolidation from the beneficiaries' viewpoints. On the
other hand, to assess the difference between the means of ranks of social capital
components in sample villages, nonparametric Kruskal Wallis test was used; and
this showed that differences at the level of 95% are not significant. To assess the
importance of social capital variables in Land Consolidation from respondents'
viewpoints in projects implemented in the study area, factor analysis was used. The
result of reduction of 32 variables extracted from the questionnaire represents 6
major factors that explain more than 70% of the total variance.
The results shows that social capital has had a positive effect on the success of
farmers' fragmented lands consolidation projects in the study area trough the
formation of local group. So that among social capital components such as trust,
cooperation, social cohesion and local networks, the indicators of mutual trust
between group members and participation and cooperation among within the group
as facilitating factors, have had the most effect on group formation and decision
making about land consolidation, from the viewpoints of respondents in the study
area. The results of reduction are organized in six main factors that explain totally
70.1% of the variance. Thus, among extracted factors of mutual trust between
farmers (with 19.39 percent), and collaboration and cooperation of group members
(by 17.2 percent), and social cohesion and participatory management (with 11.56
percent), which are closely related to social structure of rural regions, include
approximately 50 percent of the total variance from perspective of beneficiaries
eligible to implemented Land Consolidation projects and this indicates the effect of
social capital on farmers' fragmented and distributed land consolidation.