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Jaleh Koorkinejad,
Volume 11, Issue 40 (summer 2022)

Pressure on production resources and the environment is getting higher due to increased population and the need for food, especially in developing countries. Thus, the preservation of natural resources and proper allocation of inputs must be considered in production. Sustainable agriculture suggests a framework for human needs without harming the environment and the proper and optimal use of natural resources while taking into account the rights of future generations. Achieving sustainable agricultural development is possible only if productive factors such as labor and social capital are regarded alongside physical capital. Social capital, a complement to other forms of capital, is a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development, especially in rural communities. Development in rural areas requires the expansion of trust, participation and communication and cohesion among farmers. Social capital is a factor that compensates for the deficiency of other capital inputs and binds other inputs like glue. This study investigated social capital and its role in facilitating and accelerating sustainable development in the villages of the north of Sirjan County. 

This study first evaluated the different dimensions of social capital and sustainable development using different items with the Likert scale. The required data were collected using a questionnaire that validity and reliability were examined among a sample of 195 farmers living in the northern villages of Sirjan County. After calculating the social capital indicator and sustainable development indicator, we investigated the effect of social capital on various dimensions of sustainable agriculture using the Seemingly Unrelated Regression Equations (SURE). 

Discussion and conclusion
According to the results of the research, the social capital indicator was calculated at 0.57 on average, and in terms of dimensions, trust is 0.55, participation and social relations is 0.58 and norms, and social cohesion is 0.60. The economic, social, environmental and institutional dimensions of sustainable development were determined to be 0.44, 0.51, 0.49 and 0.40, respectively. The amount of economic and institutional dimensions is below average, which shows the instability of most of these dimensions among farmers. The other two dimensions are in the middle level. The results of seemingly unrelated regression equations showed that the variables of farmer age, years of experience in agriculture, net income of agriculture, social capital, participation in training courses and type of irrigation system have a positive and statistically significant effect on the economic dimension of sustainable agriculture. Variables of education level, membership in agricultural cooperatives, participation in training classes and social capital have a positive and significant effect on social sustainability, and the variables of type of irrigation system, social capital, net income and education have a significant positive effect on environmental sustainability. In addition, the results showed that farmers with higher education and those who are members of agricultural cooperatives feel more institutionally stable, and these variables have a positive effect on promoting institutional sustainability.
Low efficiency and productivity, the staggering cost of inputs, have left no income for them and have led to poor quality and welfare life for them. This has caused farmer dissatisfaction and has led young people to migrate to cities and work in industrial sectors. As it was observed, the variable of social capital has a positive effect on all four dimensions of stability, but its effect on institutional stability is not statistically significant.
Since the calculated social capital is not at a high level among farmers, besides its significance in sustainability, it is necessary to pay attention to proper planning to improve different dimensions of social capital and eliminate the existing shortcomings to achieve higher levels of sustainability. Effective training courses in rural areas are really important due to the lack of transportation facilities in farmers' living regions. In addition, the presence of skilled professionals and experts will increase the trust in the training among farmers. Creating suitable living facilities and equitable distribution of facilities in villages, improving infrastructure, and access of farmers' children to quality schools. The life expectancy and desire of farmers, especially young people, to stay in the villages will be increased when donors and rich farmers participate in improving living conditions in rural areas. 


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